On the night of Monday, November 26 in Gulfport two local men were involved in a vehicle accident that sent one to the hospital with a critical brain injury and the other was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).
According to law enforcement, at about 10 p.m., John Duddy, 53, was riding his bicycle near the intersection of 27th Avenue South and 56th Street South and was struck by Leonard Edward Potts, III, 54, who was driving a 2013 Nissan sport utility vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
Potts “was driving a friend and himself home after going to a local bar and having drinks,” according to Pinellas County Court records. He approached the corner and once he “proceeded through the stop sign, he struck” Duddy.
The collision caused Duddy “to bleed profusely from his head” and as a result, he was rushed to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg “where he underwent brain surgery and was placed in critical condition,” according to court records.
At 10:24 p.m., Gulfport Police were assigned to the crash, said Gulfport Police Public Information Officer Detective Sergeant Thomas Woodman.
According to court records, Potts told police he had two beers at the bar before he drove the vehicle.
Gulfport Police Officer Brandon Dillard, who was assisted by Officer Selena Ramos, “put Potts through field sobriety tasks at the scene and determined he was under the influence of alcohol,” said Woodman.
According to court records, Potts “refused to participate in one of the tasks and did not properly complete the other tasks.” Law enforcement officers observed that Potts “had glassy, red eyes, as well as a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath.”
Potts was then arrested at the scene for DUI, said Woodman.
Afterward, Potts refused to provide a breath sample at the Gulfport Police station, he said.
“Based on the severity of the crash with severe bodily injury, officers did a blood draw” on Potts, which is part of the standard workflow, said Woodman. Results of the blood draw are being analyzed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office forensics lab and the results will typically take several weeks to process.
Potts is charged with a DUI involving serious bodily injury, which is a third degree felony, and driving without a valid driver’s license, which is a second degree misdemeanor. He is currently in Pinellas County Jail with a $5,250 bond awaiting trial and has been ordered by the Pinellas County Court to have no contact with Duddy.
The accident is under investigation by the sheriff’s office Major Accident Investigation Team. The Gulfport Police Department is handling the criminal investigation.