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DUI Arrest Called 'Sobering Experience'

By Joan Fleischman

  • The Miami Herald
  • Posted on Sun, Feb. 25, 2007

Arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge: Xxxx "Xxxx" XXXXXXX, wife of Xxx Xxxxxxxxx, Carnival Cruise Lines' multimillionaire president and CEO.

Happened at 6 p.m. last Sunday in Coconut Grove as she headed to her Coral Gables home after lunch with a girlfriend at Smith & Wollensky on South Beach. Police say they tried to pull over her red '06 Jeep Grand Cherokee at South Bayshore Drive and Aviation Avenue.

The arrest report says Officer Carole Blanc, working off-duty traffic control for the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, ''attempted to stop the vehicle.'' Instead, Xxxxxx "refused to stop and accelerated . . . almost running over the officer.''

Blanc followed the SUV to Grand Bay Plaza at 2665 S. Bayshore, ''where the vehicle crashed into the wall'' and then ''hit an enclosed tent head-on.'' When Xxxxxx stepped out of the Jeep, police say, they smelled alcohol. Blanc stopped the roadside sobriety test because Xxxxxxxx "was in danger of hurting herself.''

Xxxxxxxxx refused the breath alcohol test, police say. Cops also charged her with refusing to obey a police officer for her alleged failure to stop.

Police towed the Jeep, estimating damage at $2,000, and booked her into Miami-Dade County Jail at 12:26 a.m. Monday. She got out at 3:40 a.m. on $1,500 bond.

Xxxxxxx hired attorney Robert Reiff, who made The Best Lawyers in America for the past three years and authored Drunk Driving & Related Vehicular Offenses, a law text. Reiff says she was not drunk and did not knowingly disobey. ''She did not understand what the officer was trying to get her to do.'' Nor did she accelerate or ''crash'' into a wall. "She scraped a little paint.''

He also says she was wearing boots with ''three- to four-inch heels'' when performing the roadsides. "I defy anybody to try to do these exercises in high-heeled boots.''

Xxxxxxx, whose license is automatically suspended for one year for refusing to take the breath test, obtained a hardship reinstatement so she can drive to doctor and attorney appointments, Reiff says. She will contest the suspension.

The Xxxxxxxxxx are known for their philanthropic endeavors. Xxxx, 47, is a gourmet cook. Xxx, 64, is a wine connoisseur -- they have a 20,000-bottle cellar in their house in exclusive Tahiti Beach. They once raised $200,000 for a charity by auctioning off haute cuisine dinners at their residence.

Xxxx sent an e-mail to friends. "A very sobering, demeaning experience. Many lessons were learned that day, most importantly I will never drink and drive again.''

No court date set.

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