"We need to be as elected officials held to a higher standard," said Florida state Rep. Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral) last month after sponsoring a bill that would require legislators to submit to drug testing.
Just before 2 a.m. Monday morning, Eagle was arrested in Tallahassee on suspicion of DUI. Police first spotted him pulling out of a Taco Bell in his black SUV before he narrowly avoided hitting a median, then stopped in an intersection, veered into a curb and ran a traffic light, according to arrest documents.
An arresting officer wrote that Eagle smelled like alcohol, had "bloodshot, watery, and glassy eyes," and swayed while outside his vehicle, but denied drinking any alcoholic beverages. He allegedly claimed the smell of booze had come from friends who had ridden in his car after being at a bar, and refused to take a field sobriety test or submit to a breath test, according to police.
Eagle, 30, was booked at Leon County Jail and later released.
"I was arrested in Tallahassee and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol," Eagle said in a statement, according to the News-Press. "While there are some decisions that I would have made differently, I do not believe there is a complete and accurate picture of the events. Under advice of my legal counsel, I cannot discuss all the details right now, but I look forward to publically (sic) sharing the entire story at an appropriate time. Until then, I humbly ask for everyone's patience. I know that I am accountable for my actions, and I look forward to communicating with my constituents in the near future on this matter."
The freshman lawmaker and real estate agent made news earlier this year when -- after years of Florida unsuccessfully arguing in court for the right to drug test thousands of state workers and welfare recipients with children -- he filed a bill that would have subjected lawmakers, elected officials, judges, school board members and others to the same requirements. If they refuse to submit to testing, they would be forced to resign.
Under Eagles' bill, positive test results would be referred to the state's Commission on Ethics, but he also filed a companion bill that exempts public officials' drug testing results from the public record, citing possible "unwarranted damages to the reputation of a public officer."
According to jail records, Eagle's booking photo is exempt under Florida statues.
UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.: Eagle's mugshot has been released after jail officials determined a cited exemption didn't apply to him, the Tampa Bay Times reports. It has been added to the story. The paper also notes that Eagle voted this legislative session for House Bill 265, "which would prohibit the publication of mug shots unless the person arrested is convicted or found guilty of the crime."