Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Saturday, February 23, 2013
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Charge of DUI dropped
Ex-School Board member cleared

Former School Board member Duncan Mathewson, who last year was charged with drunken driving, is off the legal hook.

"All charges against Mr. Mathewson have been dropped," State Attorney Catherine Vogel confirmed Friday.

"There simply wasn't enough evidence to proceed with this case."

Mathewson, 74, of Little Torch Key, was pulled over June 26 near Mile Marker 68 after a sheriff's deputy said he saw a red pickup truck veer onto the paved shoulder.

Mathewson was asked to step from the truck and perform roadside sobriety tests, which he failed, according to Deputy Michael Claudy. Mathewson was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

"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," Claudy wrote in his report.

Later that evening Mathewson, a marine archeologist who worked with the late Mel Fisher, blew a .06 and a .07 blood alcohol level, under Florida's legal limit of .08. Nonetheless, he spent the night in jail.

The Sheriff's Office at the time also said a caller that evening had reported a red pickup driving slowly and crossing over into oncoming traffic.

In October, the State Attorney's Office reduced the DUI charge to one of misdemeanor reckless driving.

That charge, too, was dropped earlier this month.

"We spoke with the officers and interviewed the witnesses who called in the initial tip," said Cameron Poore, assistant state attorney for the Upper Keys misdemeanor division. "We were reticent to file a DUI because from watching the video [of Mathewson at the sheriff's Marathon substation] he didn't exhibit any signs of impairment. I didn't see any signs in the on-scene video either. The witnesses just said that he was driving slowly, causing other drivers to go around him. That didn't help our case at all."

Mathewson, said to be dealing with medical difficulties in Maine, didn't return a phone call requesting comment. But his attorney, Darren Horan, said his client was "glad ... happy" to hear that he was free and clear of any charges.

Mathewson was first elected to the School Board in 2004. Last year he declined to run for the District 3 seat again.

Asked to speculate on whether Mathewson would now throw his political hat back in the ring, Horan replied, "I wouldn't even venture to guess on that. I think he's just trying to recover from his medical problems."

tschmida@keysnews.com

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