DUI suspect claims he received bad news from family in Michigan

Lawrence Earl Demarest

A drunk driving suspect told law enforcement he had received bad news from family in Michigan, blaming that news for his emotional state.

Lawrence Earl Demarest, 36, of Summerfield, was at the wheel of a 2014 silver Chevy Malibu was pulled over at 8:52 p.m. Sunday at the Dollar General store on Main Street in Wildwood after he failed to stop at a red light, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

“I didn’t run the red light, it was orange,” Demarest told a deputy during a traffic stop.

The deputy immediately suspected Demarest had been drinking. He admitted he had consumed four to five Budweiser-flavored lime drinks about three to four hours earlier, the report said.

The Union City, Mich. native said he had received “bad news from his family in Michigan that his grandmother had a stroke.” He claimed he was in the process of traveling to Michigan when he was pulled over, the report said.

“As I continued to speak with the defendant, his emotional state quickly changed from carefree to sad to happy which is an odd behavior for a person,” the deputy wrote in the arrest report.

Demarest struggled through field sobriety exercises and could not recite the alphabet. A check revealed Demarest has three drunk driving convictions in Michigan. A half-empty can of Smirnoff Ice screw driver was found in the vehicle.

Demarest was arrested on a felony charge of driving under the influence and issued tickets for open container and running a red light. He was booked on $7,500 bond at the Sumter County Detention Center.