Lips sealed: IRC administrator charged with DUI

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

VERO BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The issue has people in Indian River County talking was on the agenda, but county administrators asked everyone to keep quiet about it.

County Administrator Joe Baird was seen in public for the first time Tuesday at the regularly scheduled Indian River County commission meeting since controversial dash cam video aired on Fox 29.

Vero Beach police say he failed D.U.I. tests after being pulled over for driving erratically.

Sebastian resident William Wells and a few others were hoping to say something about it during the public comment section of the meeting.

"I believe when they saw me they discussed it on break. They did this because I was here and they didn't want me talking about it, so again my rights were stepped on," he said.

Commissioners say they don't want to step on Baird's rights and told the public they couldn't talk about the issue until Baird goes before a judge in late July.

He is expected to plead not guilty.

Although cops stopped him on suspicion of DUI, said he smelled of alcohol, and failed some roadside sobriety tests, Baird refused to take the Breathalyzer test twice.

The test would estimate his blood alcohol content.

"He did not take the Breathalyzer so there is no physical evidence he was drinking. I read the police report and I have my opinions. There are opinions and perceptions and not fact," said Commissioner Gary Wheeler, the former sheriff of Indian River county.

Police say Baird admitted to them he had a few drinks that night. He was put in handcuffs and charged with driving under the influence.

But commissioners would rather wait for his day in court before his day in the court of public opinion.

"I would like to see a public hearing," Wells added.