STUART, FLORIDA – A former Marlins baseball player turned Martin County Sheriff’s deputy is facing a DUI charge. His name is Kurt Abbott, and he’s on administrative leave while the case works its way through the court system.
We knocked on Abbott’s door at Spruce Ridge Drive in Stuart. No one answered.
Abbott has been a Martin County Sheriff’s deputy since 2006, and Marlins fans will remember him playing shortstop for the 1997 World Series Champs.
His neighbors praise Abbott.
“He’s helped when I’ve had to call him in the middle of the night, home alone kind of thing,” said Karyn McChrystal, Abbott’s Neighbor.
“My son tends to drive a little fast sometimes, and he was a great mentor for him,” said June Greisen, also a neighbor.
A Martin County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman says Deputy Abbott was off-duty when he was seen driving too fast around 3 a.m. Saturday on Martin Downs Boulevard in Palm City.
A Stuart Police officer reportedly clocked him doing more than 60 mph in a 45 mph zone. He said Abbott was drifting out of his lane. A fellow deputy arrived on scene, and the affidavit says Abbott smelled of alcohol, appeared to have bloodshot eyes and had slurred speech. The report adds that he refused both a field sobriety test and a breath test at the Martin County Jail. It also says he cursed and yelled.
Diego Asencio, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, says law enforcement officials have gotten serious about people driving under the influence.
“Law enforcement’s very tuned in to how DUI ruins lives. How people’s lives are totally destroyed by DUI, and so there’s zero tolerance,” said Asencio.
Our partners at Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers note that Abbott’s personnel files includes several commendations, including one from 2006, when he rescued a resident from a burning building. Neighbors summed up their feelings.
“I’m surprised. Shocked. And I’m hoping things will work out for him and his family, whatever’s going on there,” said McChrystal.
The case has been handed over to the State Attorney’s Office for investigation. Abbott posted a $500 bond on Saturday.