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Manatee commissioner charged with DUI in head-on crash

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse was charged with a single count of DUI months after deputies found his pick-up truck crashed head-on into a tree in April, according to a news release from the State Attorney’s Office.

According to a previous report, Manatee County deputies were made aware of the April 20 crash at the Greyhawk subdivision in Bradenton after several motorists flagged them down to report the incident.

When deputies arrived, Kruse was seated in the rear passenger seat of his wife’s vehicle “in an overall confused state,” an incident report previously released by the sheriff’s office said. Deputies said Kruse had watery eyes, slurred speech, clammy wet skin, and droopy eyelids.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s deputy speaks with Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse as he sits in the rear passenger seat of an SUV. (Credit: Manatee County Sheriff’s Office)

A day after the crash, authorities reviewed a 911 call that was automatically initiated via Kruse’s vehicle collision alert system moments after the collision.

Several minutes into the call, a woman who identified herself as Jessica Kruse could be heard trying to get the man out of the vehicle.

“Hey, are you okay? Jessica can be heard saying. “I need you to get in my car. I need you to get in my car right now.”

When deputies arrived, they spoke with Jessica and discussed George’s alleged level of intoxication, explaining he was “obviously impaired” and “there is no reason he should have been driving.”

Deputies said Jessica never denied the accusations.

Kruse was not arrested at the scene and allowed to return home following the crash.

Kruse previously told 8 On Your Side he trusts the State Attorney to do a fair and proper job investigating the case.

His arraignment is scheduled for July 19.

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