Ocala Police Officer Katie MacDonald found hiding behind a tree, arrested for DUI

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On August 10, 2018, now-former Ocala Police Officer Katie MacDonald was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with property damage after she drank "at least seven beers" and then drove a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire — registered to her mother — into a utility pole.

The arrest occurred just a quarter-mile from the Ocala police station where MacDonald had begun her probationary period eight months prior. Commenting on MacDonald's arrest, Ocala Police Department stated that the agency has a zero-tolerance policy regarding driving under the influence. MacDonald was terminated less than 24 hours after her arrest.

In this video, watch as the events unfold that early morning, revealing significant new information about MacDonald's implausible story and how officers responded to it, including the moment MacDonald was found hiding behind a tree, her claim that she "didn't call 911 because [she] was scared," her colleagues matter-of-fact reply: "That doesn't make sense." And much more.

MacDonald’s breath test results were .200 and .198. She was booked into the Marion County Jail.

On October 8, 2018, Kaitlyn Marie MacDonald entered a plea of no contest in 2018-CT-4908. She was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to 75 hours of community service with the Marion County Solid Waste Department, an additional 20 hours of community service, one day in jail with credit for one day served, one year of reporting probation, a six month suspension of her driver's license, six months of an ignition interlock, and $1584 in fines and fees. Her vehicle was ordered impounded for ten days, a requirement that was lifted when she submitted proof that it had been totaled. MacDonald was also ordered to attend a victim impact panel, undergo alcohol evaluation and counseling, attend DUI school, and not possess or consume any alcohol, drugs, or medication without a valid prescription — with random drug and alcohol screening to be conducted at her expense. She was also ordered to pay restitution to Ocala Electrical Utility in the amount of $3,984.

On December 20, 2018 MacDonald's attorney filed a motion requesting that MacDonald be allowed to buy out her community service hours at a rate of $10 per hour. The motion was granted.

On October 16, 2019, Probation Counselor David Wilson filed a probation termination letter with the court, informing the court that MacDonald had successfully completed the terms of her probation.

In the State of Florida a body called the Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission (CJSTC) is responsible for - among other things - oversight of law enforcement officer certification, a responsibility that includes the administration of administrative sanctions in instances when an officer is found to have violated either Florida law and/or standards that have been set by the CJSTC. The CJSTC has in place its own 'diversion program' for police officers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, wherein the officer may elect probation with substance abuse counseling.

MacDonald was present when her moral character violation case was brought before the CJSTC for an informal hearing (case number 43624). Florida Department of Law Enforcement Attorney Rebecca Cambria presented the case and recommended that CJSTC impose a 30-day prospective suspension, beginning 15 days after the filing of the Commission's Final Order; one year of probation, to begin at the conclusion of the suspension period, with the requirement that MacDonald provide Commission staff with proof that she has successfully completed Commission-approved substance abuse counseling prior to the completion of the probationary period. The Commission accepted the recommended discipline.

On October 15, 2020, Katie MacDonald successfully completed her CJSTC suspension and probation. She remains eligible for employment as a law enforcement officer in the State of Florida.

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