SPRING HILL — A Nature Coast Technical High School biology teacher was arrested early Saturday after authorities discovered cocaine residue in a container during a traffic stop, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
David Charles Liptak, 47, was pulled over shortly after 1:30 a.m. in the 4400 block of Commercial Way, north of Forest Oaks Boulevard. It wasn't immediately clear why he was stopped.
Liptak, the only person in the car, was "very nervous and was visibly shaking," a Sheriff's Office report said. As he stepped out of the vehicle, he grabbed a black fanny pack, the report said. He consented to a search of the car and the fanny pack.
In the pack, the deputy found an Altoids mint container with a small plastic bag and a cut plastic straw inside.
The deputy noticed a white powdery residue inside the bag that later tested positive for cocaine. Liptak initially said the bag contained creatine but later said it might be cocaine, according to the report.
After the powder tested positive for cocaine, he said "the Altoids container belonged to his girlfriend and that he does not use drugs," the report said.
Liptak, a Spring Hill resident, faces charges of possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on $5,500 bail Saturday morning.
Liptak reported the arrest to Nature Coast principal Toni-Ann Noyes by email on Saturday and reported to school Monday. He has been removed from contact with students until a school investigation can be completed, said superintendent Bryan Blavatt.
Liptak has been a science teacher in Hernando County since 2004 and has also taught at Powell Middle and Explorer K-8 schools, said Joe Vitalo, president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association.
Vitalo said there have been no other issues with Liptak.
"He's a real good science teacher," Vitalo said. "I've sat in his class. He knows his material; kids understand it."
Outside his teaching life, Liptak has been a professional wrestler — one member of a duo known as the Power Company Twins. It was unclear whether he still wrestles, but he still mentions the group's name in his voice mail message.
Liptak's wrestling name: Dave Power, according to obsessedwithwrestling.com
Danny Valentine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.