Driver admitted to having several beers before crashing into convenience store, police say

Joseph Ligas, 67, faces charges of  DUI, DUI with property damage

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A 67-year-old man admitted to having three to four beers Tuesday before he crashed his black Dodge RAM into a gas station convenience store in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, Joseph Wayne Ligas said he consumed his first Busch beer at 8 a.m. but didn't know when he consumed the final one, nor did he know what time it was when he was speaking to the responding officer.

Fort Lauderdale police said Ligas' breath smelled of alcohol and he had red/bloodshot water eyes, slurred speech, eye lid tremors and a flushed face.

Ligas also failed a field sobriety test, authorities said.

According to police, the crash occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m. at the Exxon station convenience store on Northeast Fourth Avenue near Northeast 13th Street.

"It just sounded like a big boom," store manager Syed Ali said. 

Local 10 News reporter Roy Ramos said a bystander was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. 

"It was a customer standing close by, and I think he had coffee sitting on the counter, and he just splashed (it), probably," Ali said. 

A tow truck was used to remove the black Dodge RAM from inside the store.

The impact of the crash knocked over shelves, and the front of the truck was visibly damaged. 

Ali said Ligas was apologetic. The store reopened late Tuesday afternoon with just a section of it closed off. 

Ligas faces charges of  DUI and DUI with property damage.

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