Detective 'Too Drunk' to Receive MADD Award

Michael Szeliga apparently had a few
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2015 5:55 PM CST
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(Newser) – A Florida sheriff's deputy—who's now a full-fledged detective—apparently got so drunk at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving conference that he couldn't receive an award for making 100 DUI arrests, WFTV reports. According to lengthy report, Pinellas County deputy Michael Szeliga arrived at a Fort Lauderdale MADD training event in July and got pretty tanked on Jameson Irish whiskey cocktails. He skipped training, hung out at the Hyatt Regency's pool, and played a "cornhole" beanbag game with other deputies, WFLA reports. "The plot thickens" from there, says a former MADD director and anti-DUI lawyer. "It seems to be a lot worse than originally presented."

Indeed, a sergeant claimed he saw Szeliga in the hotel hallways looking "pretty drunk" and wearing "nothing but boxer shorts" during a fire alarm, and Szeliga allegedly mouthed off to a police chief who told him not to enter the awards banquet while intoxicated. According to the 274-page internal affairs report, Szeliga’s supervisor soon got him to skip the banquet altogether. Szeliga disputes some details of the account, but was suspended with pay for a day. He's now a detective for a unit investigating crimes against children. "It was wrong," says Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who also called Szeliga a good deputy. "When I first heard about it, that was (what) my reaction was. 'Come on, you’ve got to be kidding me. Really?'" (Read more Mothers Against Drunk Driving stories.)

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