Expert questions why officers closed Port Richey city manager's DUI case

He says steps were missed

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Everyone on the scene, the police, paramedics, even the eyewitnesses agree something was seriously wrong with Port Richey's City Manager Tom O'Neill on July 13.

The New Port Richey Cpl. who responded to a report of a man asleep behind the wheel can be heard on the dash cam video expressing concern over the smell of alcohol.

Cpl. Phillips final report describes, "signs of impairment," including watery bloodshot eyes, dazed expression and slurred speech."

Yet, he closed the case after paramedics suggested O'Neill be transported to North Bay Hospital for a medical evaluation and that he could have had a stroke.

We asked state certified DUI expert Bobby Haimes to look at the 49 minute dash cam video.

Haimes, who spent seven years on the Pinellas County Sheriff's DUI squad, agrees with the paramedics call to take Tom O'Neill to the hospital.

But he questions why the officer investigating a possible DUI closed the case instead of following through on his suspicions at the hospital.

Those are questions New Port Richey interim police Chief Kim Bogart says he wants answered as well.

Chief Bogart says he's conducting a review of how the case was handled and plans to meet with the reporting officer Monday.

ABC Action News has tried calling Tom O'Neill repeatedly, but have yet to reach him.

Depending on what the police chief finds, he may ask the State Attorney's Office to review the case.

The State Attorney's Office would be able to ask for a blood sample if one was drawn at the hospital. 

The I-Team will continue to follow this investigation.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments