Orange County firefighter placed on leave after off-duty DUI arrest

GROVELAND, Fla. — A 10-year veteran of the Orange County Fire Department has been placed on leave after he was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk.


Groveland police were notified Sunday evening about a white Tesla SUV driving erratically on State Road 33 near Berry Groves Rd.

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According to police, responding officers located the vehicle within Groveland city limits and observed the driver committing multiple traffic violations before initiating a stop.

While speaking to the driver, later identified as 39-year-old Jason Balcauski, officers noted he had bloodshot, glassy eyes, and was slurring his speech.

According to police, Balcauski initially claimed he had two beers while watching a football game at a friend’s house, but later admitted he’d also been to a sports bar.

Balcauski was then placed in custody on suspicion of driving under the influence.

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Once in custody, police say Balcauski pleaded to allow someone else to pick him up, stating that he was a firefighter and that the incident would “ruin his career.”

Police searched Balcauski and found two receipts in his pocket showing he’d bought six beers from the sports bar that night.

Balcauski was later formally charged with driving under the influence. A check of his driver’s history revealed no previous DUI arrests.

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An Orange County spokesperson confirmed Balcauski has been an engineer with the fire department since 2011.

He’s been placed on leave pending the outcome of an administrative hearing.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Balcauski as a Groveland firefighter. There is no record of him working for the City of Groveland.

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