Father Joseph Gates, 35, was charged with driving under the influence the night of Saturday, Aug. 3, after police observed his vehicle precariously traveling west on Sanibel Captiva Road and into the St. Isabel Catholic Church parking lot.
When the officer requested Gates’ drivers license, he fumbled with his wallet, dropped it twice, and attempted to hand over a bank card, according to the report. The officer also observed Gates searching through medical paperwork in an attempt to locate his vehicle registration.
Gates reportedly smelled of alcohol and admitted to having one alcoholic drink that evening. He failed a field sobriety test and was transported to the Lee County Jail, where a breath test showed his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He was released from jail Sunday, Aug. 4, on a $1,000 bond.
The Diocese of Venice in Florida released a statement about his arrest: “The Diocese is aware that over the weekend, Fr. Joseph Gates was arrested for an alleged DUI, while he was returning from a personal social engagement. As the matter is pending, the Diocese will await the judicial outcome before further response.”