Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 5 a.m.
Tour-boat captains are supposed to be a little zany, maybe even a bit edgy if the crowd is right.
But Angel Rodriguez of Island Safari Tours was apparently very drunk and totally insane when he took a trio of tourists out for a day of sightseeing near Key West.
Yes, it sounds awesome at first, but it quickly turned to failed hot-wiring attempts and chest-kicking mayhem. What else would you expect? Look at the dude: It's like Capt. Ron's coked-up younger brother just downed a fifth of Jäger and is ready for a good time on the high seas.
So here's how the chaos unfolded, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission documents obtained by New Times: At the end of September, two FWC officers were patrolling the waters when they saw Rodriguez's boat bolt toward a green marker and make a quick turn at the last minute to avoid crashing into the thing.
The FWC officers turned on their blue lights, but Rodriguez either didn't notice or didn't care. The officers watched him pull the bold stunt three times, and each time, the passengers were tossed to the side of the boat and were clearly not enjoying the ride.
Rodriguez finally set the vessel in idle and decided to chat with the officers. He said he was the owner and operator of the boat but then said he didn't have the boat's registration because it was a rental. Officer Bibler calmly pointed to the lanyard Rodriguez was holding, which included the keys to the boat and the registration. Rodriguez handed them over.
When the officers explained that they stopped Rodriguez because of his stunt boating, Rodriguez got angry, spouted off that he lived in the area his whole life, and said "something to the effect [that] he knew what he was doing and he knew the waters."
Rodriguez was just getting started.
He then took off his shoes, balled up his fists, and stared down the officers. One of the passengers, who had apparently chartered the boat, stood up in an attempt to diffuse the situation, but Rodriguez claimed that he was now a lawyer and shoved the passenger back into the seat, but not before blathering about how he knew his rights and the officers weren't allowed to board the boat.
After shoving his passenger, Rodriguez "stumbled briefly around the vessel." What came next was a moment of genius: Rodriguez decided to untie the FWC boat from his boat and push the two vessels apart.
"He went to start the boat to leave but apparently forgot he gave us the key," the FWC officers wrote in the incident report.
So, like any bombed boater is apt to do under pressure, Rodriguez jumped in the water. But it doesn't seem like he tried to swim away, yet. He floated around for a bit, crawled back on his boat, and "removed the cowling from the motor and played with the wires." We're assuming Rodriguez has been watching wayyyyy to much Burn Notice and thought he could hotwire the thing.
When it became clear that he wasn't going to get the boat to start up, "he retrieved his dive fins, entered the water again and started to swim toward shore." (God, this guy rules!) But the officers just idled behind him for a few minutes figuring his drunk ass would get tired of swimming and give up.
He did, but he still wasn't ready to surrender. Rather, Rodriguez swam over to the FWC vessel and held onto the side "for approximately four minutes." Suckers -- Rodriguez was just catching his breath for his big finale.
At this point, the FWC officers informed Rodriguez he was under arrest. So Rodriguez did the only reasonable thing: He continued swimming toward shore. Another FWC crew arrived and intercepted the boozy boater, but he wasn't going without a fight.
Officers jumped in the water (they must have been soooo pissed at this point) and cuffed one of his hands. But "even while Mr. Rodriguez was restrained he was still resisting by bracing, tensing and voluntarily not putting his hands behind his back."
After hauling Rodriguez out of the water and onto the boat, Rodriguez kicked one of the FWC officers in the chest and continued to be a giant asshole, even when he was finally taken to the police station.
Now, keep in mind that the FWC officers still didn't know who the other people on the boat were. When they started interviewing them, one lady explained that she didn't know Rodriguez until this incident.
"They said they rented a vessel from Island Safari Tours and that Mr. Rodriguez was their captain... Mr. Rodriguez showed up with a six-pack of beer... Many of the other occupants stated that Mr. Rodriguez was drinking throughout the entire trip and that he seemed intoxicated."
Rodriguez horribly failed sobriety tests at the station house and "repeatedly said 'why do you want me to do this, I'm drunk.'"
Rodriguez was hit with some felony charges, including fleeing and eluding, and some misdemeanors for reckless operation of a boat.
A call to Island Safari Tours was not returned.