81ºF

DUI trial begins for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz

Diaz arrested in Key West last year

KEY WEST, Fla. – The trial of a Miami-Dade County commissioner accused of driving under the influence began Tuesday in a Key West courtroom.

Jose "Pepe" Diaz was arrested in September after he was pulled over for speeding while riding his motorcycle in Key West.

"He's under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the extent that his normal faculties are impaired," prosecutor Nick Trovato told the jury during his opening remarks.

Key West police said Diaz's speech sounded slurred and his breath smelled of alcohol.

The police report said Diaz was traveling 74 mph in a 30 mph zone. An officer wrote in the report that Diaz didn't use the kickstand for his motorcycle, causing it to fall over.

Diaz told police that he had a rum and Coke and one glass of champagne about three hours earlier, the report said.

In a police video, Diaz told an officer that he was a county commissioner, albeit out of his jurisdiction. Then he revealed that he knew Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay.

"Call Rick," Diaz said. "He knows me."

"Who?" the officer asked.

"The sheriff," Diaz replied.

Police said Diaz refused multiple requests to take a breath test. He was taken to jail and later released on bond.

"When you determine how well Mr. Diaz did on these exercises, on the side of the road on Saturday night with traffic coming with three police officers in your face and your heart racing a mile a minute, under those circumstances, under their criteria, with his physical conditions that you will learn about in detail, he did pretty well," defense attorney Chris Lyons told jurors.

Diaz has pleaded not guilty.


About the Authors: