Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey council member faces DUI charge

PORT RICHEY — In April, Steven O'Neill was elected to a second term on City Council.

A quiet presence on the dais, he rarely makes headlines.

But early Sunday, Pasco authorities charged O'Neill with driving under the influence after his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the level at which Florida law presumes impairment.

O'Neill, 47, did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment.

Here's what happened, according to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office:

About 2:26 a.m., a deputy spotted O'Neill speeding north on U.S. 19 in a 2001 Ford.

Driving about 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, O'Neill began weaving in his lane. When the deputy stopped the vehicle near Scenic Drive, the report said, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol on O'Neill's breath. O'Neill's eyes were bloodshot and glassy. His speech was slurred.

O'Neill agreed to sobriety tests, but "did very poorly and was unable to follow simple instructions," the report said.

O'Neill registered 0.175 and 0.165 on blood-alcohol level tests. Florida law presumes impairment at 0.08 percent.

He was arrested, taken to the Land O'Lakes jail, then posted $250 bail a few hours later.

O'Neill is a certified radiologic technologist at the Florida Cancer Institute in New Port Richey, where he administers X-rays and MRIs.

Because this is his first offense, O'Neill will not face disciplinary action from the state Department of Health, said Eulinda Jackson, deputy press secretary. The agency administers O'Neill's medical license.

Mayor Richard Rober said he's known O'Neill since 2002, when the two lived next door to each other at Sandpebble Townhomes.

He said O'Neill isn't the first city official to have a brush with the law.

"I think a lot of Steve O'Neill," Rober said Wednesday.

"Everybody makes mistakes. I think he's a nice guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.

Port Richey council member faces DUI charge 05/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 2, 2008 1:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 7 creepy podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit


    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    Television network AMC recently debuted an immersive new podcast, Deadly Manners.
  2. Police: Before a shot was fired after Spencer's UF speech, men gave Nazi salutes and chanted about Hitler


    Gainesville police have arrested three men they say are responsible for the shooting after Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

    Texas men Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Henry Fears, 30; and Colton Gene Fears, 28 all face attempted homicide charges for a shooting following Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. (Gainesville police)
  3. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills


    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Bucs QB Jameis Winston, shown against the Patriots two weeks ago, will start Sunday at Buffalo after being sidelined with a shoulder injury last week. Dirk Koetter announced that he was starting after watching him throw at practice Friday.
  4. Florida's 'Turtle God' is ailing. What happens to his remarkable collection of specimens?


    OVIEDO — In a small town about five miles from the University of Central Florida there stands a two-story yellow house built in the 1920s. A modest sign mounted on the wall next to the front door says, "Chelonian Research Institute."

    The main room at the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida. - Peter Pritchard sounds British but he's lived in Florida for five decades, running the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida, which holds the world's largest collection of turtle specimens (some of them bones or shells, some of them live turtles or tortoises). Time magazine has declared him a hero of the planet and other turtle experts say he is to turtles what Dian Fossey was to gorillas. He's been instrumental in helping other species, too, including the Florida panther. He has traveled the world studying turtles.
  5. Photos: Maroon 5's PJ Morton slides into Tampa for an electric set at Crowbar


    While the rest of Tampa was off partying with Bruno Mars at Amalie Arena, a much smaller group of fans were getting down with Maroon 5 at Crowbar.

    PJ Morton performed at Crowbar in Tampa on Oct. 19, 2017.