Baird Cleared in DUI Case

By Al Pefley  email

Vero Beach, FL (WFLX)

The DUI trial of Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird has ended in a not guilty verdict.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours before finding Baird, 52, not guilty.  Baird did not show any emotion or reaction as the verdict was announced in court about 4pm.  Moments later, he exchanged hugs with his girlfriend and his defense attorney.  Baird declined to comment on the verdict.  He did not testify in his own defense.

He was stopped by Vero Beach Police in May for speeding and a faulty brake light.  Baird said he had had "a few" drinks at a fundraiser luau.   He was given roadside sobriety tests and a video of the tests show Baird having difficulty following the police officer's instructions, losing his balance at times, and unable to correctly count backwards from 44 to 29.   The prosecutor argued the video was sufficient proof that Baird was impaired.

However, the defense contended that he was not impaired.  And he was unable to correctly do the roadside sobriety tests because he has vertigo, a condition that affects one's sense of balance.  Baird did not take a breathalyzer test that night.