DOCUMENT: Florida, Stupid

Cops: Man Called 911 To Report Wife Was Spider

Floridian busted for misusing emergency system

View Document

Black Widow 911

JANUARY 17--A Florida Man who twice called 911 to report that his wife was a “black widow spider” was arrested early yesterday for misuse of the police emergency system, records show.

William Rutger, a 61-year-old Tarpon Springs resident, first called 911 around 1:30 AM Tuesday and told a police operator that his spouse was an arachnid. Rutger added that he wanted her involuntarily admitted for a mental examination per the state’s Baker Act.

Rutger, seen at right, was slurring his words and appeared intoxicated, according to a responding patrolman. Officer Jacob Miller explained to Rutger--who was not expressing “coherent thoughts”--that the 911 system was for emergencies only. Miller did not arrest Rutger.

Shortly after 3 AM, when Rutger again dialed 911 to say that his wife was a black widow spider, Miller returned to Rutger’s residence and placed him in handcuffs.

Charged with misusing the 911 system, Rutger yesterday entered a no contest plea to the misdemeanor count. A judge adjudicated Rutger guilty and ordered him to pay fines and court costs totaling $500. Rutger’s rap sheet includes prior convictions for battery and drunk driving.

Rutger is a retired lawyer and the author of “The Alcoholic’s Guide to Adventure,” a 2009 autobiography that is described on Amazon as a “lighthearted jaunt into the sublime world of drunken decadence.” (1 page)