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County Commissioner's Husband Arrested on Second DUI Charge

BRADENTON – David Ballard, the husband of Manatee County Commissioner Amanda Ballard, was arrested for DUI on March 6 after crashing into the vehicle of a county employee. It was Ballard's second DUI arrest over the span of just more than one month.

On Monday, March 6, at around 10 p.m., an officer from the Bradenton Police Department responded to a vehicle crash at the 1300 block of 27th Street East. Mr. Ballard's vehicle was alleged to have struck the vehicle in front of it after failing to slow down when the lead vehicle began to turn.

The vehicle that was struck was coincidentally driven by an employee of Manatee County Government, who has worked there for the past decade.

The responding officer said that Mr. Ballard, who is a local attorney and member of the Florida Bar, smelled of alcohol and said that "he did not wish to speak about it" when asked what had happened regarding the accident. It also appears that Ballard initially attempted to blame his wife for the crash, despite the fact that she had not been present at the time of the incident. Mrs. Ballard is also a practicing attorney.

"Once officers arrived on the scene, the defendant advised that his wife was driving and he was the passenger. He stated that she left the scene to make a phone call. She arrived shortly after and advised this was not true. He later stated that he forgot he was actually driving."

According to the arrest report, Ballard refused a breathalyzer and failed a field sobriety test. He was charged with DUI, refusal to submit to testing, and driving without a valid license. He was also cited for careless driving.

Because the court then found probable cause that Ballard "had committed a new crime while on pre-trial release for a previous crime," Judge Heather Doyle issued an order revoking his bond. Ballard's attorney then filed a motion seeking to reinstate the bond. A hearing before Doyle is scheduled for Monday at 10:15 a.m.

Previous incident

On February 2, Ballard was arrested on charges related to a single-car hit-and-run near the couple's home on 25th Street Circle East. According to the arrest report, a witness alleged to have seen a man matching Ballard's description hit a stop sign in a grey Chevy crew-cab pickup and leave the scene while appearing to be deeply inebriated.

The responding Florida State Trooper found Ballard's grey 2019 Chevy Colorado pickup at his nearby residence with damage to the vehicle that was consistent with the height of the damaged stop sign. The trooper said that the unlocked vehicle had pink vomit on the console and an odor of alcohol coming from the interior.

The trooper reported that when Mr. Ballard, who fit the description of the driver given by the witness, answered the door, he had the same pink-toned vomit on the front side of his pants and an odor of alcohol and vomit emitting from his person. Ballard was said to be "very lethargic" and "confused" during the interview and "would stare blankly at me and forget what he was doing or saying."

The officer said that Ballard "argumentatively refused" to allow her to conduct a breathalyzer test to determine his blood alcohol level. While he was being interviewed, a deputy conducted a witness drive-by, at which point the witness positively identified Ballard as the driver he witnessed crash into the stop sign.

Ballard was arrested and criminally charged with DUI/Hit and Run, along with traffic citations for leaving the scene of an accident, and refusing to submit to a lawful breath, blood, or urine test.


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