Clay County deputies call this one for the stranger than fiction file: A driver stopped Saturday night on suspicion of driving under the influence claimed the squirrel in his shirt was eating him.
According to an arrest report, Warren Michael III produced the squirrel to show the deputy. The report says Michael also had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot and glassy eyes, flushed face and slurred speech.
Deputies say they were responding to a report of a pickup truck driving erratically on U.S. Highway 17 on Fleming Island just before 9 p.m. When they caught up with Michael's pickup on Pine Avenue off Mulberry Drive, the pickup was weaving, drifting off the road into the grass, nearly hitting a parked car, and over the center line, according to the report.
Once stopped, the deputy said, Michael (seen in booking photo, right) could not find his driver's license or registration, and while looking, dropped most of the items he was holding.
"I had the defendant secure the squirrel and then exit the vehicle," the deputy wrote. The report said Michael swayed while performing a field sobriety test and had a hard time maintaining his balance or standing on one foot.
After Michael's arrest, the pickup and squirrel were released to Michael's girlfriend, who said she told him he shouldn't be driving, but he "does what he wants anyway."
Breath tests done at the Clay County jail found blood-alcohol levels of .145 and .156 -- nearly double the legal limit. Michael was charged with DUI, driving without a seat belt, and given a warning for driving a vehicle in unsafe condition.