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Following Kruse investigation, Manatee County Commission limits public comment to future agenda items

Woman holds a sign
Woman holds a sign(WWSB)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:39 AM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Following release of body cam footage showing a disoriented Manatee County Commissioner George Kruse after a vehicle crash, the commission limited public comment at its meeting Tuesday to future agenda items only.

Kruse is under investigation for an April 20 crash on Grayhawk Boulevard.

The police report noted Kruse’s vehicle collision alert system automatically called 911 after the impact and began recording conversations in the moments after the crash. “I reviewed the 911 chronology log and found that a male was in the vehicle immediately after the crash and sounded intoxicated. He was slurring his words and not responding at times,” the report said.

A body camera was recording when another deputy arrived to write the crash report. The first deputy on scene said he believed Kruse was intoxicated. “The dude friggin’ crashed into a tree. No, he’s drunk. We just can’t do a DUI because nobody can put him behind the wheel. When I got here, he was in his wife’s car.”

Two protesters arrived with signs urging Kruse to step down. Ahead of the public comment section, they were told told that the items up for discussion were restricted to future agendas items.

That didn’t stop a caller for calling in to the meeting and stating that she demanded action and integrity for the county.

“Ma’am is this a future agenda item?” responded Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge.

“I think commissioners should have integrity. Is that future enough for you?” said the woman.

After the woman called for integrity, the commission ended the phone call.

Kruse was cited for careless driving. State Attorney Ed Brodsky has said his office is actively investigating the case after the sheriff’s office referred the case to him and forwarded their report to them.

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Editors Note: The headline has been changed to reflect more accurately the outcomes of the meeting.