Florida drunk driver, 20, tells cops he had a loaded AR-15 on his lap because he’s ‘seen crazy stuff’ since he moved from Alabama
- Kaleb Kleiss, 20, was arrested on charges including drunk driving and using a firearm under the influence
- A witness said Kleiss drove with an AR-15 in his lap and pointed it out the window
- Police found Kleiss in a parking lot with a loaded AR-15 on his car’s dashboard
- Kleiss told police that he had put the gun in his lap because he was ‘paranoid’
Kaleb Kleiss, 20 (pictured), was arrested after a witness told police they saw him driving with an AR-15 in his lap and the barrel sticking out of the driver’s side window
Kaleb Kleiss, 20, of Clearwater, Florida, was arrested on December 12 and charged with drunk driving, improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon and using a firearm while under the influence – all misdemeanor charges.
Kleiss came to police attention after being involved in what was described as a ‘traffic altercation’ in his arrest affidavit, obtained by The Smoking Gun.
A witness told police that they had seen Kleiss driving across the Memorial Causeway bridge in a 2016 Volkswagon, with the barrel of an AR-15 sticking out of the driver’s side window.
At one point, the witness told police, Kleiss allegedly held the gun up to his shoulder and point it out of the window, before drawing it back inside the car.
It’s unclear what prompted the act, but Kleiss’ alleged move ‘put the witness in great fear,’ according to the affidavit.
Police eventually tracked down Kleiss in the parking lot outside a laundromat near his apartment at about 6.25pm that same day.
Police tracked down Kleiss and his car to a parking lot (pictured) near his apartment, where the loaded AR-15 was sitting on the dashboard, in full view, while Kleiss was outside of the car
Kleiss is pictured here in an undated photo while holding a shotgun. Police said he told them that he had taken to carrying his AR-15 for self defense, after moving to from Alabama
Kleiss was said to have been standing outside the car, which was still running, with the keys in his hand.
The arresting officer noted that the AR-15 was ‘displayed carelessly and laying on the dashboard,’ within view of anyone who happened to walk past the laundromat.
Police said the AR-15 had a full magazine and there was a bullet in the chamber.
Kleiss, police said, was ‘highly intoxicated.’ Police said that he had bloodshot eyes, swayed and smelled of an alcoholic beverage.
When asked to perform a standard field sobriety test, he ‘did so poorly.’
Two breathalyzer tests produced blood alcohol content results of 0.143 and 0.129 – above Florida’s 0.08 legal limit.
Kleiss was then arrested for DUI. After being read his Miranda Rights, police said he told them that he toted around the AR-15 ‘for self defense because he has seen crazy stuff since moving to Florida’ from Alabama.
It’s unclear what exactly Kleiss had seen that he was referring to or when those events happened, however public records indicated that Kleiss has been living in Florida, while attending college, for at least the past two years.
Kleiss also told police that the AR-15 had originally been in the backseat of his car, but that he ‘turned the music up loud and was feeling it,’ which prompted him to move the gun to the front seat and into his lap.
According to police, Kleiss also told them that he’d decided to hold the gun in his lap because he was ‘paranoid.’
It’s unclear what lead to Kleiss – described as 6’4″ and weighing 240 lbs – becoming paranoid during the drive.
Kleiss was released from Pinellas County Jail on December 13 after posting $900 total in bonds for the three charges against him, according to jail records.