Key Largo woman arrested for DUI blames dog for poor driving, kicks deputies, sheriff says

Michele Burke (MCSO)

KEY LARGO, Fla. – A 54-year-old Key Largo woman blamed her Yorkshire terrier when deputies pulled her over for a traffic violation Wednesday night, but she was actually drunk, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

However, Michele Lee Burke’s driving on the Overseas Highway wasn’t what earned her a felony charge, deputies said.

An MCSO sergeant was backing up another deputy on a traffic stop at mile marker 104 just after 10 p.m. when Burke drove by, failing to move over into the left lane or slow down for the deputies on the shoulder as required by law, the report states.

That sergeant broke off the traffic stop and flipped on her lights and siren in an attempt to pull over Burke, who turned on her right blinker but failed to immediately pull over and turned onto Avenue B, where she eventually came to a stop, according to the report.

Burke, whose Yorkie was sitting on her lap, blamed the dog for her driving and had a “strong odor” of alcohol as she struggled to find her registration and proof of insurance, deputies said.

The sergeant “was able to tell the driver only had one eye and her left eye appeared watery,” the report states.

After Burke claimed she only had one drink that night, the sergeant put her through a field sobriety test, deputies said.

The sergeant “asked her if she suffered from any illnesses, and she said, ‘yes, one eye’ and began to laugh,” the report states. Deputies wrote that Burke was then asked if she was currently injured, “which she said ‘no,’ and when asked about physical defects, she said, ‘My mom, my brother.’”

Burke passed an initial attempted eye test but refused to cooperate on other attempts, the report states. Deputy Mario Marin then arrived to conduct a walk-and-turn exercise.

“Michele began laughing as I explained the instructions. I advised Michele it was a serious matter. Michele continued to laugh and stated she knew how to perform the exercise because she had seen it on Facebook,” he wrote in the report. “While demonstrating the walking phase of the exercise, Michele told me to ‘f--- off.’”

He wrote that after he asked Burke “to please cooperate with us to complete the exercises,” she walked away and said “I don’t care” and “I’m going to check on my dog.”

Deputies then attempted to arrest her, but she became “hostile” and cursed at them, tensed up and grabbed a deputy’s finger, the report states.

After deputies cuffed her and placed her in the cruiser, Burke asked where her dog was going and deputies told her animal control was going to come and pick the dog up, the report states.

“At that point, Michele became aggressive and informed me she wanted to punch Sergeant Davis in the throat,” Marin wrote. “Sgt. Davis tried explaining the dog would be returned to her but she continued screaming. Michele tilted her body onto her stomach, releasing herself from her seatbelt (restraint), and started kicking at me. I demanded Michele to stop her violent onslaught, to which she disobeyed and kicked my stomach multiple times.”

Burke then kicked the other deputy in the stomach multiple times as both tried to place her in a restraint, the report states.

Eventually, after she calmed down and was being taken to jail, Burke admitted to “having one too many that night,” according to the report, and later refused a breathalyzer test.

She was booked into jail Thursday morning on a felony charge of resisting an officer with violence and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

According to jail records, she was being held without bond as of Thursday morning and is set to be arraigned Oct. 10.

Editor’s note: The original version of the article misstated the nature of Burke’s resisting arrest charge and has since been corrected.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.