A suburban Lake Worth man charged with driving drunk appeared to have picked the wrong time to drive his vehicle through a fence near Palm Beach International Airport.
It was early Sunday, and Air Force One was parked on the other side of PBIA, and pretty soon the crash had brought in not just Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies but also the Secret Service, frantically searching for a possible threat to the President of the United States — a threat authorities soon determined didn’t exist, according to a report.
Bryan E. Hewey-Garcia, 24, fled the crash site, then called in a fake carjacking, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s alleges.
Hewey-Garcia was booked Sunday morning into the Palm Beach County Jail, charged with DUI, filing a false crime report, and leaving the scene of a crash. He later was released on his own supervision, records show.
Hewey-Garcia had no comment, his mother said Monday. His father also declined to comment.
According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s report, around 2 a.m. Sunday, Hewey-Garcia lost control as he drove west on Belvedere Road where it jogs around PBIA’s northwest runway, a short distance east of Military Trail and just across from the Wal-Mart. The report said the vehicle — a 2005 Mercury — was found angled on an embankment about 300 feet south of the security fence. Deputies traced its path and determined it missed the curve, came up on the sidewalk, and tore through the fencing.
Arriving deputies found a woman still in the car and being treated by county Fire-Rescue paramedics. She identified Hewey-Garcia as the driver but didn’t know where he was, the report said.
Around 2:30 a.m., the report said, Hewey-Garcia called 911 to say he was at the Wal-Mart and that, a short time earlier, he’d been carjacked.
Because President Donald Trump was spending the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, and Air Force One was parked on the south side of the airport, deputies alerted the Secret Service, the report said.
When a deputy arrived at Wal-Mart, the report continued, Hewey-Garcia — who said he’d hurt his ankle — had bloodshot eyes and breath smelling of alcohol. He told the deputy he’d been stopped around Belvedere Road and Australian Avenue, near the airport’s east entrance, when a man who was unarmed but acting aggressive had ordered him and his girlfriend out of the car, then fled in it.
After Hewey-Garcia signed a stolen car affidavit, the deputy said he knew there’d been no carjacking and that Hewey-Garcia had crashed his car and fled. A witness who said he watched the vehicle leave the road also had identified Hewey-Garcia as the driver, the report said. It said Hewey-Garcia later failed several aspects of a field sobriety test and twice refused to give a breathalyzer sample.