Winter Springs cop resigns after DUI
A Winter Springs police officer recently resigned from the agency months after he was arrested on a driving under the influence charge following an off-duty crash on I-95 that injured two other motorists, records released this week show.
Jorge Melendez, 46, was arrested after a May 6 crash on I-95 near St. Augustine, where investigators determined he rearended another vehicle about 2:50 a.m., according to his arrest report. Officers who responded to the scene said they could smell a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” on Melendez and noted that he was “unsteady on his feet and swayed back and forth.”
Melendez, who had been an officer at the Winter Springs Police Department since 2007, resigned in October, about a month before he pleaded no contest to reckless driving causing serious bodily injury in St. Johns County, records show. Adjudication was withheld, meaning he was not convicted, but he was placed on probation for four years, and required to complete DUI school and 75 hours community service.
Florida Highway Patrol investigators determined Melendez rear-ended a Mini Cooper in his Mercedes convertible while driving on I-95 near State Road 206, causing the Mini Cooper to crash into a guardrail. Both the driver and passenger in the Mini Cooper were taken to the hospital for injuries, one with a possible broken leg, the arrest report said.
Melendez also had an adult passenger in his car at the time of the crash, but it did not appear she suffered any injuries.
Melendez declined to perform a field sobriety test or take a breath test after officers said they believed he was intoxicated, his arrest report says. Officers also found a open container of alcohol inside his car.
Robert Mandell, did not immediately respond for comment on the case.
Another Winter Springs police officer arrested on DUI, Jeffrey Bender, resigned from the agency in October, police records show.
He was arrested in Oviedo in September and has since been charged with DUI above 0.15 blood alcohol content, which is double the legal limit of 0.08, according to court records. The Seminole County case remains ongoing.
Both officers were offduty at the time of their arrest.