ST. CLOUD — Last Friday, at the start of the weekend, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office put out the word that deputies would be conducting a Safety and DUI Sobriety Checkpoint the next evening. To ensure that Osceola County residents and visitors understood this, the sheriff’s office announced there would be informational signs advising motorists that the sobriety checkpoint was ahead.
Not everyone, it seems, got the message.
Early on Sunday morning, Donald Forrest Geraghty — who deputies later found out was driving with a suspended license — opted not to be diverted into the checkpoint lane after he approached it.
Instead, the 51-year-old man fled through the checkpoint — striking a deputy with his vehicle as he did, reported Twis Lizasuain, public information officer for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
In response, “The deputy was able to discharge his firearm, striking the vehicle multiple times,” Lizasuain noted in her report on the case.
Deputies stopped the vehicle as it stumbled onto Canoe Creek Creek Road in St. Cloud.
“The driver attempted to flee, but was apprehended by deputies with the assistance of the K-9 Unit,” Lizasuain said.
After being tracked down and arrested, Geraghty — who resides at 355 Mohawk Trail in Winter Park — was airlifted to Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee.
He was charged with attempted murder on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, and fleeing and eluding.
There are likely going to be additional charges filed against him, Lizasuain noted. Geraghty was later released from the hospital and booked into the Osceola County Jail.
As for the deputy struck by Geraghty’s vehicle, he was also transported to Osceola Regional, with non-life threatening injuries.
Despite that incident, Lizasuain reported, the sobreity checkpoint was otherwise a success — one that helped get at least six drunk drivers off the road.
Deputies at the Safety and DUI Sobriety Checkpoint — which went from 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15 until 4 a.m. the next morning — reviewed 791 cars that passed through. Lizasuain said the checkpoint resulted in 94 citations, 62 written warnings and 20 arrests.
Of the 20 arrests, six were for driving under the influence and the other arrests were for outstanding warrants, traffic and drug charges.
“The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is committed to promoting safety for motorists using the public highways, and to provide a deterrent for those who violate the laws that regulate and control motor vehicle traffic,” Lizasuain noted in her report on the checkpoint.
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