'Drunk' Florida man abandons airboat in front of sheriff substation: ‘He made some very poor decisions’

LAKE WALES, Fla. - A mechanic for the Polk County School Board is facing DUI charges after deputies say he abandoned an airboat in front of a sheriff’s substation on Sunday.

Deputies say a captain with Polk County Fire Rescue called the sheriff’s office shortly before 9:20 p.m. because an airboat had fallen off a trailer being towed by a dark Ford F150 in front of a Polk County Sheriff’s Office substation in Lake Wales.

The captain said the boat was blocking Thompson Nursery Road and the driver of the Ford F150 appeared to be drunk before he drove away.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, when the boat’s owner, Jonathan Whitesides, 43, and another man returned to the scene to retrieve the boat, Whitesides began yelling at the other man, criticizing how he was attaching the boat to the trailer.

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A deputy at the scene told him to calm down and that’s when, according to PCSO, Whitesides became irate with the deputy. PCSO says Whitesides took an aggressive stance toward the deputy, charged in his direction, pushed his chest out with his fist balled up, started yelling in the deputy's face with his fists balled up and ignored the deputy's commands.

<div>Jonathan Whitesides mugshot courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office.</div>
Jonathan Whitesides mugshot courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Whitesides eyes were bloodshot and watery, his speech was slurred, and he had balance issues, according to PCSO.

Two breath samples showed Whitesides breath-alcohol content was .334 and .307. The legal threshold is .08.

"One of Mr. Whitesides breath samples showed him to be four-times the legal limit," stated Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. "I’m not sure how he was walking, let alone driving. He made some very poor decisions that night - he decided to drink and drive, and then he decided to become aggressive towards the deputy on the scene. Both those decisions earned him a trip to jail."