Did the presence of high level officials influence a DUI investigation?
Officials say they made no suggestions to officers
7:07 PM, Jul 29, 2013
8:41 AM, Jul 31, 2013
NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Video, obtained first by the Action News I-Team, shows an S-U-V in the middle of a road in New Port Richey two weeks ago. Port Richey City Manager Tom O'Neill reportedly smelled of alcohol and was asleep behind the wheel.
There are more questions about what took place that night. Among them: did the presence of a District Fire Chief and Port Richey's Police Chief influence the investigation.
It was after midnight when a Port Richey cruiser responded to a call for assistance from New Port Richey Police. Just minutes after Port Richey Police Officer Johansen arrives and rolls his dash cam a call comes in on the two-way from what appears to be Port Richey Police Chief Dave Brown.
Chief Brown says Officer Johansen raised him on the radio to notify him of the situation. The dash cam video shows Port Richey City Manager Tom O'Neill still inside his S-U-V. When they walk back to the car Chief Brown is with them.
Chief Brown says he acted in nothing more than the capacity of a concerned friend. But on tape, he can be seen having conversations with officers and paramedics on the scene including the investigating officer.
He denies his presence is related to the fact the case was closed as a medical call in spite of the reporting officers references to multiple signs of impairment.
The highest ranking EMS official at the scene that night was New Port Richey District Fire Chief Paul Brozyna who helped O'Neill out of his S-U-V. Brozyna, whose known the city manager for 30 years, says he had no role in the decision to take O'Neill to the hospital.
New Port Richey's police chief says he is reviewing how his officer handled the case. Tom O'Neill tells us it was a medical issue that sent him to the hospital that night but won't comment as to whether he was drinking.