Florida woman charged with DUI while riding horse, deputies say

by: Jason Kelly, WFTV.com Updated:

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A 53-year-old Polk City woman was arrested and charged with DUI and animal neglect Thursday near Lakeland, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

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Donna Byrne was arrested shortly after 1:30 p.m. after a passerby told deputies Byrne appeared confused and possibly in danger, Sheriff's Office spokesman Brian Bruchey said.

Byrne smelled of alcohol, had red, watery eyes and staggered as she walked, Bruchey said.

Deputies said they conducted a field sobriety test on Byrne and she provided breath samples, which showed she had a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit.

Byrne was also charged with animal neglect for failing to provide proper protection for the horse, which was being ridden in the roadway, placing it in jeopardy of being injured or killed, Bruchey said.

"Ms. Byrne was obviously not in any condition to be on the road," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "She not only put herself and the horse in danger, but also anyone who was driving on the road, which is typically very busy."

Deputies took the horse to the Sheriff's Office's' livestock facility.

Investigators said Byrne was previously charged with animal cruelty.

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