The former Manatee County environmental planning division manager was arrested earlier this month on DUI and drug possession charges, according to the Holmes Beach Police Department.
About 1:37 a.m. on June 10, a Holmes Beach police officer pulled over a dark blue pickup truck that was weaving down the 700 block of Manatee Avenue at 80 mph, according to police. The posted speed limit was 35 mph.
The driver, 43-year-old Joel Christian, had watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol, according to police. When asked how many drinks he had that night, Christian said, “Seven beers,” according to police.
Christian was placed into custody after participating in field sobriety exercises. During a search of his truck, the officer found 2.4 grams of marijuana and a glass pipe with burnt marijuana, according to police.
In addition to driving under the influence, posession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia, Christian was cited for speeding, failing to drive in a single lane, having no proof of insurance, failing to change address on driver’s license and not wearing a seat belt.
He was released the same day after posting a $1,500 bond.
It wasn’t known if Christian’s arrest was connected to his recent departure from the county, which left officials scrambling as the date neared for new hearings on the proposed and highly contentious Aqua by the Bay development on Long Bar Point.
The hearing for the planning commission had to be rescheduled to allow for an environmental review of the proposal, said the county’s planning section manager Nicole Knapp, and the Aug. 10 date is still tentative.