The 2015 Orlando police “Officer of the Year” was drunk and shirtless when he was seen swerving into oncoming traffic and running a red light in front of the Orlando Police Department Saturday, leading to his arrest.
Ben Gauntlett then proceeded to bang his head against the seat in the back of the Orange County sheriff’s patrol car as he was being transported to jail.
The award-winning officer told the arresting deputy he didn’t remember how much he drank, but that he had been at a party, then stopped at a downtown bar for more drinks.
His blood-alcohol content was measured at more than twice the legal limit of .08.
Gauntlett was shirtless, had a beer bottle cap in his pocket and was wearing a green paper wristband from the Wall Street bars downtown when the deputy approached the truck. The deputy also said two empty beer bottles were found behind the driver’s seat while the vehicle was being towed.
Gauntlett told the deputy he was coming from a birthday party in Maitland and had stopped downtown at a bar on his way home. He could not remember how many drinks he had throughout the night after first saying he had three alcoholic drinks from 9 to 10 p.m.
During his ride to in the back of a patrol car to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office DUI Center Gauntlett banged his head on the back of the seat, the deputy said.
Gauntlett blew a .220, .195 and .213 BR. AC about an hour after his arrest, according to the report.
The Fraternal Order of Police presented Gauntlett with the 2015 Officer of the Year award for two incidents that year, including one where he disarmed an armed man, another where he took his shirt off to save the life of a man whose throat had been slashed.