FORT PIERCE — The guitarist with the Southern rock band Molly Hatchet may not be "Flirtin' With Disaster" much longer as a judge has thrown out most of the evidence in his DUI case.
In an order filed Monday, County Judge Philip J. Yacucci ruled a St. Lucie County sheriff's deputy didn't have sufficient cause to stop David Lawrence "Dave" Hlubek of Port St. Lucie in the early morning hours of Sept. 30 before arresting him for driving under the influence.
According to a St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office reports and Yacucci's order, a woman who gave only her first name and said she was Hlubek's girlfriend called 911 to report she and Hlubek had just had a physical altercation and that he had driven away from a Fort Pierce arcade intoxicated.
"The minimal information that was offered placed the caller essentially into the category of an anonymous tipster," Yacucci wrote, "thereby requiring sufficient corroboration by the deputy."
Yacucci noted the arresting deputy "did not witness any erratic driving himself, nor did he have any additional substantiating evidence" before stopping Hlubek in the 5000 block of U.S. 1.
"Basically, it was an unlawful stop," said Fort Pierce attorney Michael Kessler, who represents Hlubek, "and all the evidence that was obtained in the stop cannot be used."
That evidence, according to the arrest affidavit, includes blood-alcohol content results for Hlubek,who co-wrote the Molly Hatchet song "Whiskey Man," of 0.13 and 0.14, both above the state's legal limit of 0.08.
"We're not conceding in any way shape or form that Mr. Hlubek was guilty of DUI," Kessler said, adding that authorities "can't justify a search and seizure by showing us what they found. Either they have the authority to make a stop or they don't; and in this case, they didn't."
Assistant State Attorney Gayle Braun said prosecutors have until May 24 to decide whether to appeal Yacucci's ruling, "and at this point we're still evaluating whether we will appeal or not."
The case is scheduled to have a status hearing at 9 a.m. May 25.
Hlubek and his bandmates formed Molly Hatchet in 1975 in Jacksonville. Their song "Flirtin' With Disaster" and the album of the same name made the Billboard pop music charts in 1979.
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