South Florida firefighter accused of drunken driving, crashing into 5 cars

Police found John Gratton hiding under bush in nearby field, report says

John Gratton, 38, is accused of driving drunk and crashing into five vehicles.

SOUTHWEST RANCHES, Fla. – A Palm Beach County firefighter was arrested over the weekend after police said he drove drunk and crashed his truck into five other vehicles in Southwest Ranches. Two people were hurt in the crash.

John Gratton, 38, of Coral Springs, faces charges of driving under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the arrest report, officers were called to Griffin and Weston roads late Saturday after witnesses reported that a man driving a truck struck five vehicles and fled the scene on foot.

Officers found Gratton hiding under a bush in a nearby field, the report said. Police said he was bleeding from his right buttocks.

The arresting officer observed that Gratton smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and struggled to stand up, the report said. He stumbled over his feet as officers led him to the patrol car, the report said.

Police said Gratton was driving along Griffin Road at a high rate of speed. He drove the truck with no tire on the front left wheel while the right tire was flat.

When police searched Gratton’s truck, they found a grinder, which tested positive for marijuana, the report said. 

Police took Gratton to the hospital as a precaution, where he refused to take a blood test to determine his blood alcohol level, the report said.

Paramedics transported the two people injured in crash to Cleveland Clinic Hospital. Their conditions were not disclosed.

Capt. Albert Borroto, a spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, said Gratton has worked as a driver operator for the department since 2002. Gratton is currently on administrative leave without pay, Borroto said.

This minivan was one of the five vehicles that were damaged in the crash.