Monroe County School Board member Duncan Mathewson spent Tuesday night in jail on a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence after having attended a "meet-and-greet" event for the four schools superintendent finalists in Key Largo.
Mathewson, 73, of Little Torch Key, later registered a .06 and a .07 blood alcohol content when he voluntarily submitted to a breath test, according to an arrest report filed by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Although Mathewson's blood alcohol level was under Florida's legal limit of .08, he was arrested for driving while impaired after a deputy decided he had failed physical sobriety tests.
"I believe that [Mathewson] was impaired by either an alcoholic beverage and/or chemical substance which impaired his normal faculties to safely operate a motor vehicle," Deputy Michael Claudy wrote in a three-page report.
Mathewson was handcuffed and taken to the Marathon "DUI room," for processing that included the breath alcohol test -- given after a 20-minute observation period.
He provided two breath samples, with the second one the highest at .07, the report said, and was then taken to the Marathon jail.
Mathewson was stopped on U.S. 1 near Mile Marker 68 in Islamorada, according to the arrest report.
About 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, a deputy received a "be-on-the-lookout" alert for a red pickup truck traveling at slow speed and crossing into oncoming traffic, the report said.
The deputy got behind the truck near Long Key State Park, and later saw the pickup veer out of the lane and onto the paved shoulder, the report said. The deputy then pulled it over.
"I could smell a moderate to strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath," the deputy wrote in his arrest report.
"I noticed that his eyes were watery and glassy. His speech was normal. His face was normal and his clothing was disheveled."
The deputy allowed Mathewson some time to find his insurance card, and returned to his patrol car. While sitting in his patrol car, the deputy said he watched Mathewson get out of his pickup truck holding some papers.
From his patrol car, the deputy said he could see that Mathewson's pants were unzipped.
The arrest came two days before the most significant decision the School Board in the Florida Keys has ever made: hiring a superintendent for the first time in the county's history.
Mathewson, elected to the School Board in 2004, is part of the five-man board set to interview the four finalists today at Marathon High School, and then vote for one at a meeting that starts at 2 p.m.
On Tuesday, Mathewson attended the second of three public receptions held for the four finalists for superintendent: Thomas Gay, Jesus Jara, Mark Porter and Ed Shine.
Mathewson, the District 3 incumbent who is not seeking re-election, was noticeably absent at Monday night's Key West reception.
The other four board members stood together as the finalists took turns making brief remarks.
Mathewson also did not attend the most recent board meeting, held in Key West on June 12.
The meet-and-greets feature free beer and wine.
A final public reception was held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night at the Iberia Bank in Marathon Shores.
That event marked the first time each finalist made a short presentation and took questions from the audience. Today, the board will choose one.
Mathewson is a marine archaeologist who has worked with Mel Fisher divers and other shipwreck salvors.
Mathewson was released from the Marathon jail at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, having been jailed about 11 p.m. Tuesday.
He was released on his own recognizance, and is due in court before county Judge Ruth Becker on July 24.
Citizen staff writer Adam Linhardt contributed to this report.