Okeechobee city firefighter charged with DUI

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee city Firefighter Mitchell Brydebell, 39, Okeechobee, was arrested Dec. 28 by Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Pollock and charged with DUI. His breath test results were reportedly 0.219 and 0.224, and his bond was set at $2,500.

On Saturday, Dec. 28, at approximately 11:30 p.m., Deputy Pollock was requested to respond to the 2300 block of U.S. 98 North to help with a driving under the influence investigation. When he arrived, Deputy Richard Varnadore explained he had observed a red truck traveling 60 mph in a 45-mph zone and performed a traffic stop. As he approached, he realized the truck was driven by a local firefighter and decided to give him a courtesy warning to slow down. He pulled up next to the truck and yelled through the window, telling Brydebell to slow down, but Brydebell reportedly took off at a high rate of speed, spinning his tires on the grass before entering the highway in the path of another vehicle, causing that vehicle to swerve to avoid a collision. Brydebell then allegedly accelerated to 70 mph. Deputy Varnadore conducted a second traffic stop, and Brydebell reportedly slid sideways before coming to a stop.

Deputy Pollock noted, when he approached the truck, there was a strong odor of alcohol, Brydebell’s words were slurred and his eyes were bloodshot. When Brydebell was taken to the jail, he reportedly refused a breath test but later changed his mind.

City Administrator Marcos Montes De Oca said the city is aware of the arrest, and although everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty, Brydebell has been restricted from driving any of the city equipment while the case against him is pending. Further action will be determined by the outcome of the case.

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