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Manatee County commissioner calls DUI inquiry 'entirely political'

Commissioner George Kruse says the April 20 accident was careless driving, nothing more.

Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse says his investigation for a possible DUI resulting in an April 20 accident is a "witch hunt."
Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse says his investigation for a possible DUI resulting in an April 20 accident is a "witch hunt."
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Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse, speaking after the regular commission meeting May 3, said he only was cited for careless driving by Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies after a minor traffic accident April 20 at 134 GreyHawk Blvd., Bradenton.

He said he was shocked later to hear he was being investigated for possible driving under the influence.

Kruse said he was limited by what he could say because it remains in active investigation. However, he called an ongoing investigation "entirely political."

"Two weeks ago (April 20), I was cited for a civil infraction, no question there," he said. "A week later, someone decided to turn this political. It's just a witch hunt. There was no alcohol, there were no drugs involved. My citation does not check that box.

"Regardless of what the media says, it didn't happen at 5:30 p.m. (Note: It is listed at that time in the police report). It happened at 7:30 p.m. It was after an entire day of meetings. I had meetings the first thing in the morning, until the end of the day, and I was on my way home. That's the extent of this entire story. 

"Whoever is trying to turn this into more, it's just to come after me or to make my life miserable. I've got to deal with it. It is unfortunate."

Kruse, who lives about a mile from the accident site, said he clipped a curb and got into an accident.

"I got a careless driving citation, which I don't refute at all," he said. "I am very willing to pay it. We had officers on the scene, and they all spoke with me. There's nothing more to this. People are trying to make this more than it is. People are trying to add narrative where there's no narrative to add. Just to try to put it into the public perception that there was more than there is. It's unfortunate, but I'll get through it because I'm not concerned because there's just nothing there."

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office incident sheet lists the primary offense as offense code DUI Alcohol or Drugs. The report lists Kruse as a suspect.

An alcohol influence report listed Kruse's name but specified "not arrested."

Randy Warren, the public information officer for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, said the case has been sent to the State Attorney's office for review.

Asked about accident information — such as how many cars or people were involved in the accident — Warren said no other information was available.

The several pages of reports that were associated with the incident were so redacted that it was impossible to glean even the most basic of information about the incident. 

Manatee County Information Outreach Manager Bill Logan said the county did not have any statement to release at this time.


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