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Drunken dad handed keys to 14-year-old son, made him designated driver, police say

Man busted with open whiskey bottle, weed
Posted at 10:10 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 14:56:18-04

Police in Florida arrested a father for allowing his 14-year-old son to drive, as allegedly he sat intoxicated in the passenger seat.

Richard Timmons, 54, was arrested early Monday morning on Fort Myers Beach by deputies with the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

His arrest report said a white Ford Explorer was at the intersection of San Carlos Boulevard and Siesta Drive when deputies saw it swerving in and out of the lanes. When they pulled the car over, they found a 14-year-old boy behind the wheel.

Deputies said Timmons was slumped over in the passenger seat. He was slurring his speech and had watery, bloodshot eyes, according to the report. Deputies said he told them the boy was his son.

“Sad. It’s really, it’s disturbing. Extremely disturbing,” said Rob Thomas, a man who lives near the intersection and witnessed the traffic stop.

When Timmons opened the passenger door, deputies said they found an open bottle of whiskey and a bag of synthetic marijuana covered in saliva. The report said Timmons admitted to being drunk, trying to eat the synthetic pot, and allowing his son to drive.

“To put your kid in jeopardy like that, it's really pathetic,” Thomas said.

People living near Timmons’s home in LaBelle, Florida said he’s well-known in the neighborhood. He’s a mechanic who helps them out with their car troubles.

“He’s a real nice guy. He’s my neighbor, and he helps around here with whatever we may need,” one neighbor said.

She said she’s surprised by Timmons’s arrest.

“Bad decision on his part, but I think he wanted to come home so he had his son drive him,” the neighbor said.

Timmons wasn’t home when WFTX reporters stopped by.

His arrest report said the Florida Department of Children and Families was notified of the situation.