Fla. firefighter-paramedic arrested for DUI: 'I will watch you die'

Michael Ovdiyenko allegedly cursed a deputy while he was being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, saying he would not help the cop if he was shot

By Eliot Kleinberg
The Palm Beach Post 

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — A Palm Beach Gardens firefighter-paramedic pulled over Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving at the North County Courthouse cursed at Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies and said, "If something happens to you and we are working the same shift, I will watch you die," an arrest report said.

Michael Ovdiyenko was booked early Thursday at the Palm Beach County Jail and was released a few hours later on his own recognizance, jail records show.

Calls to phone numbers listed for Ovdiyenko either were not returned or were met by a recording that they were disconnected. A city spokeswoman said Ovdiyenko has worked for Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue for 15 years. She was not able to say his status as of Thursday.

According to the PBSO report, a woman said at about 5 p.m. Wednesday that she saw a man who'd been speeding through a neighborhood and who was sitting in his parked car at the courthouse, on the 3100 block of PGA Boulevard south of The Gardens Mall. The complex is within the city limits, but a sheriff's spokeswoman said deputies handle security on the property.

The report said a deputy found Ovdiyenko asleep and woke him. The deputy said he smelled of alcohol and admitted he'd been drinking but said he hadn't been driving drunk. He offered to take the deputy for a ride on his boat and invited the deputy to his apartment for a drink.

The deputy allowed the firefighter to use a bathroom, then helped him down steps "as he could barely walk," the report said. It said Ovdiyenko at first agreed to a field-sobriety test but then later declined.

During the incident, Ovdiyenko told deputies he'd been a paramedic for 18 years and "you guys are not on the same (expletive) team. Never again will I help you guys," according to a supplemental report. He then cursed them further and said he hoped someone "tries to shoot you guys. I'll be way on the other side."

On the way to the sheriff's blood-alcohol testing center, the report said, Ovdiyenko said his chest hurt, and he was taken to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center for treatment. Once he was there, he refused to provide a blood sample.

Copyright 2018 The Palm Beach Post 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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