71ºF

FHP: Lake City mayor could face DUI charge in lake crash

Troopers: SUV ends up in Lake DeSoto after mayor gets out of running vehicle

LAKE CITY, Fla. – The mayor of Lake City could be facing a DUI charge in an alcohol-related crash on Jan. 27, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Mayor Stephen Witt, 64, was in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge Club on Northeast Hernando Avenue just before midnight Jan. 27 when he started his GMC Terrain, put it in gear and for unknown reasons got out of the SUV, troopers said.

Witt's SUV traveled about 60 feet, crossing Lake DeSoto Circle, driving over a curb and then heading down an embankment into Lake DeSoto, troopers said. It ended up in about 4 feet of water in the lake.

Witt suffered minor injuries in the incident and was taken to Lake City Medical Center for treatment.

Troopers said the incident was definitely alcohol-related, and that a DUI charge is pending.

News4Jax stopped by Witt's office Monday, but his assistant said he was out of town and unavailable for comment.

One Lake City resident told News4Jax she doesn't want the mayor to get special treatment, if he is charged.

"If it was a DUI or he was drunk, then I think that he should be held responsible for it. I don’t believe that he should be given a free pass because he is mayor or of higher authority," Angela Herring said. "I’m not surprised to hear about it because there’s so many things happening in this world.  The times we are living in, nothing surprises me."

News4Jax contacted the city manager for comment, but we have not heard back yet.


About the Authors: