GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A drunken driver slammed into a police
officer who was clearing Florida Gators fans from the streets early
Tuesday, critically injuring him, then ran two motorcycle officers
off the road before he was stopped, authorities said.
The Florida Highway Patrol said Austin John Wright, 21, of
Atlantic Beach, had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal
The Gainesville Police officer, Lt. Corey Dahlem, was
hospitalized in critical condition, police spokesman Keith Kameg
said. None of the other officers was injured.
Police had been clearing the streets early Tuesday of the nearly
25,000 fans celebrating the University of Florida's 84-75 win over
Ohio State for the Gators' second straight NCAA basketball title.
Four other people were arrested during the partying, including
three fans for disorderly conduct, and one person for slapping an
"For how large the crowd was, four arrests is insignificant,"
Kameg said, but he said of the injuries to Dahlem, "This destroys
everything. It's absolutely senseless."
Wright gave two breath tests that registered his blood alcohol
level at 0.227 percent and 0.214 percent, Highway Patrol spokesman
Mike Burroughs said. He was booked on charges of careless driving,
driving under the influence with serious bodily injury and
attempting to elude police.