MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The State Attorney’s Office will decide if Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse is charged with DUI after deputies found his pick-up truck crashed head-on into a tree last month, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
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 sitting in the back seat of his wife’s vehicle “in an overall confused
state,” an incident report from the sheriff’s office said. Deputies also observed Kruse to have watery eyes, slurred speech, clammy wet skin, and droopy eyelids.
When the crashed SUV was searched, deputies found the front seat airbags deployed and the seat belt completely retracted into the B-pillar. Deputies said the finding indicated “the driver did not have the seatbelt engaged” at the time of the crash.
Deputies said there were no witnesses who saw the crash nor Kruse in control of the SUV.
A day after the crash, deputies reviewed a 911 call that was automatically made via Kruse’s vehicle collision alert system moments after the crash.
Deputies said the voice of a man was in the SUV immediately after the crash and “sounded intoxicated.”
The man had slurred speech and did not respond at times, the report added. Several minutes into the call, a woman who identified herself as Jessica Kruse can be heard trying to get the man to get 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 dispatchers asked for the woman’s location she responded, “We’re good” and “We’re totally good.”
Once in the other vehicle, the man can be heard saying, “I can’t believe I did this,” the report said. At no time does the man identify himself.
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.
Days after the investigation was closed, George Kruse told News Channel 8 that he has yet to see the information released in the sheriff’s incident report.
“This is under investigation. I’ve had this discussion before… The sheriff’s department does an excellent job,” Kruse said. “I respect what the sheriff’s department does. It is being passed to Ed Brodsky and the State Attorney’s Office.. I respect what he does. Both of them are going to do their job. I am not going to interfere with their investigation and whatever the outcome is, as what we will deal with at that point in time.
Kruse said he would not opine on or speak to a legal investigation at the current stage.
“It is just not in my best interest and honestly, it is not in their best interest because I want them to be able to do their diligence and their investigation without all of the distraction, so that’s about the extent of what I am going to stay on it,” he added. “I trust Sheriff Wells, I trust the State Attorney Brodsky to do a proper job and a fair job and we will move forward with they have completed their investigation.”
Kruse was not arrested at the scene and allowed to return home following the crash. The sheriff’s office concluded its investigation and all evidence was handed over to the State Attorney’s Office, which will determine if formal charges will be filed.