TARPON SPRINGS — Retired attorney William Rutger appears to be a colorful character to say the least.
Rutger, the 61-year-old former trial lawyer and author of 2009’s The Alcoholic’s Guide to Adventure, was arrested Tuesday for misusing the 911 system. His reasons were novel to say the least.
Rutger’s first call to emergency services came in at 1:36 a.m. He promptly informed the operator that his wife was a black widow spider.
Dusting off his legal bonafides, he went on to state that he wanted to force her admission for a mental examination under Florida’s Baker Act. (If Rutger registered the incongruity of declaring someone a spider and then insisting on a mental examination for them, he didn’t show it.)
Officer Jacob Miller was dispatched to the home. Miller’s police report stated that Rutger “appeared to be highly intoxicated” and “did not express coherent thoughts,” neither fact particularly surprising for someone who’d penned a tome described on Amazon as a “lighthearted jaunt into the sublime world of drunken decadence.”
Miller explained 911 was to be dialed for emergencies only and left Rutger to his excesses. Unsatisfied with this, Rutger again dialed the emergency number at 3:09 a.m., lodging the same complaint about his wife.
When Miller returned, he took Rutger into custody.
The eccentric attorney has had trouble with the law before, with convictions for both drunk driving and battery in his past.
Brought before a judge, Rutger pled “no contest” to the misdemeanor charge of abusing 911. He was found guilty and liable for court costs and fines of $500 in total.
To date, Rutger’s wife has not been charged with being a spider. While the calls may not have worked out for Rutger on that front, on the plus side, the retired lawyer has a great new chapter for a follow-up book if he’s interested!