Sheriff’s office captain found passed out in traffic sent home without sobriety, medical screenings

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — 9 Investigates why a Seminole County Sheriff’s Office captain wasn’t given a medical evaluation or sobriety test after being found passed out in traffic, his engine running and his foot on the brake, at a Seminole County intersection.

Channel 9 investigative reporter Karla Ray was the only one to obtain video of the incident, which shows a responding deputy giving the captain a fist bump before sending him on his way.

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An agency spokesperson said responding deputies did not believe the driver was impaired or having a medical complication, but there is no way to know for sure, because no screenings were done.

On July 8, not far from Chuluota along County Road 419, concerned drivers called deputies and firefighters to check on a driver in an SUV.

The man behind the wheel wasn’t moving, but the vehicle wasn’t in park, so two Seminole County deputies used their vehicles to box it in, before pounding on the window for a full minute to wake the driver.

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“He either ODed or asleep?” one deputy speculated on body camera video.

The driver’s face is blurred in the video provided by the sheriff’s office, but we learned it is Capt. Kip Beacham, who oversees the Community Justice and Rehabilitation Division, according to the sheriff’s office website. He is a 24-year-veteran with the agency.

“Did you fall asleep? What happened?” a responding deputy questioned before realizing who the driver was.

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“I’m a captain with the sheriff’s office,” Beacham is heard saying on camera.

“Oh, oh, (expletive), I’m sorry, man,” the responding deputy said.

Almost as quickly as crews arrived, they were ready to go. The off-duty captain, who was asleep in traffic just moments earlier, was allowed back out onto the roads without a screening by EMTs on site, a sobriety check, or further questioning.

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“You’re good, just leave, this didn’t happen,” a responding deputy said while laughing.

9 Investigates asked whether there was a policy in place dictating what would trigger a sobriety or medical check before someone is allowed to drive away in a situation like this. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said every situation is unique, and it is ultimately the deputy’s discretion based on training and experience.

The spokesperson went on to say that upon awakening, the driver showed “no signs of impairment or further concerns to deputies.” An incident report was not completed.

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The deputies involved are not under review, and the agency could not share further details about the captain’s condition during that incident due to federal health privacy laws.

See dash-cam video below:

Karla Ray, WFTV.com

Karla Ray anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on Saturday and Sundays, and is an investigative reporter for the 9 Investigates unit.