Two Injured After Man Crashes Car into a Tiki Bar During Palm Harbor Festival
A Dunedin man, 59 year-old Duane A. Wagner, was arrested for felony DUI after he drove a vehicle into a tiki hut at the at the Thirsty Marlin Grill and Bar located at 1023 Florida Avenue in Palm Harbor. The crash occurred at approximately 7:49 p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2018.
According to deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, they were called to the Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar during the annual Citrus Festival in Downtown Palm Harbor, for a report of a vehicle that crashed into the business.
Deputies say 55 year-old Beatrice Cahenzli of Palm Harbor had parked her 2007 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the alleyway on the north side of the business, just west of 11th Street. Cahenzli was trying to leave and was having trouble backing her vehicle out when an acquaintance, Duane Wagner, offered to move the car for her.
Deputies say Wagner got into the vehicle, placed the vehicle in reverse and accelerated backward striking a Duke Energy power pole on the north side of the alleyway. The impact caused significant damage to the power pole.
Wagner then placed the vehicle in drive and accelerated southbound across the alleyway striking Cahenzli and throwing her up onto the hood of the vehicle. Wagner continued accelerating and drove through a 6 foot wooden stockade fence on the north side of the Thirsty Marlin Grill & Bar. The vehicle crashed through the fence and struck four patrons who were located in the outside tiki bar area of the establishment.
Paramedics responded to the scene and treated Cahenzli and injured patron, 71-year-old Jennifer Schutt of Clearwater. The three other patrons refused medical treatment at the scene.
Cahenzli was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Schutt was transported to Florida Hospital North Pinellas with non-life threatening injuries.
Duke Energy was called to the scene to address power outages in the area as a result of the damaged power pole.
Deputies made contact with Wagner who claimed that he got the brake pedal and the accelerator mixed up which caused him to crash the vehicle.
While speaking with Wagner, deputies noted he showed signs of impairment by having bloodshot, glassy, and watery eyes and a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath when he spoke. Wagner agreed to perform Field Sobriety Tests, but he performed poorly on them.
Deputies say that Wagner submitted a breath sample that indicated he had a BAC of .103/.101. In Florida, a BAC of .08 is the threshold for impairment.
Wagner was arrested and charged with one count of felony DUI (3rd or Subsequent Offense) and one count of felony Driving While License Permanently Revoked.
Wagner was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident.
Deputies say Wagner has two prior DUI convictions in 1993 and 2009. Wagner is currently awaiting trial for a third DUI arrest from December 2017. His driver’s license has been permanently revoked since 2009.
The investigation continues.