Originally created 12/31/01

Sober Santa clobbers disruptive drunk



LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- A man who took a swing at a mystery man in a Santa suit discovered that Father Christmas was up to the challenge, according to authorities.

Jonathan Danzey, 20, is facing misdemeanor intoxication and criminal mischief charges after authorities say he got into a fight with Santa last Saturday at a fast-food restaurant 100 miles south of St. Petersburg.

"Santa Claus whipped his butt," said Katherine Phillips, who witnessed the fight.

"He won," Danzey conceded. "He was stronger and more sober."

According to Lee County sheriff's deputies, Danzey saw Santa in a convertible and became belligerent when Santa told him he had no gifts for him.

"I was in a bad mood," Danzey told the Fort Myers News-Press on Wednesday. "I started out joking around with him. He said something, then I said something else and then I ended up hitting him."

Santa fought back, ripping Danzey's shirt and knocking him to the ground, witnesses said.

Santa Claus left before deputies arrived, so his identity remains a mystery.