Thursday night, St Augustine Record opinion editor, Jim Sutton, told deputies with the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office that his prescription sleeping pills overtook his ability to focus on his driving; he lost control of his vehicle, and, according to the incident report obtained by Historic City News, hit a street light pole, a mailbox, and attempted to drive back to his home on the adjacent street.
By Friday afternoon, his employer reported that Sutton didn’t remember anything about what was in the police report. “He did say he took an Ambien Thursday night,” according to The Record article.
Deputies responded to a report on Dondanville Road of a hit-and-run crash involving a dark grey Toyota 4-Runner. Statements from witnesses put Sutton behind the wheel as he attempted to turn his vehicle around, swerved, striking the pole and mailbox, and continuing on to SR-A1A. At least one witness attempted to stop Sutton after the crash. Reportedly Sutton began to drive away while the witness was holding onto his vehicle.
Officers apprehended Sutton on SR-A1A; he was taken into custody and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving damage to property, a second-degree misdemeanor, and reckless driving with property damage, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was attempting to find the nearby street where he lives.
The statement offered by Sutton after his arrest indicated that he had a couple of drinks, took the pills, and went to bed. He told deputies the sedative makes him very thirsty. The report says Sutton got behind the wheel of his vehicle intending to drive to the grocery store and return home.
Sutton was released Friday at about 11:00 a.m. after posting $1,000 bond.