Friday, December 15, 2017
Public safety

Pinellas Park police officer resigns after crash, DUI arrest

PINELLAS PARK — A city police officer resigned this week, days after he was accused of rear-ending another vehicle while drunk.

Matthew Patsch, who was hired at the Pinellas Park Police Department two years ago, was arrested by St. Petersburg police last week on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence with property damage.

"He was placed on administrative leave with pay immediately," said Pinellas Park police Sgt. Brian Unmisig. "He resigned on Monday."

St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said authorities were called to a traffic crash at about 9:45 p.m. Thursday at Seventh Avenue N and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

A St. Petersburg man told police he was stopped at red light when Patsch drove into the back of his Toyota Tundra with a 2008 Jeep.

After the crash, Patsch told those present he was a police officer. But he denied having anything to drink. He was off duty and in his personal vehicle.

A St. Petersburg officer noted in a report Patsch was unsteady on his feet and had a dazed look on his face. His blood-alcohol content was recorded at 0.189 and 0.192 percent, more than twice the limit at which Florida law presumes a driver to be impaired, police said.

Pinellas Park police were notified that night of Patsch' arrest.

Records show he was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $500 bail early Friday. He is due in court Nov. 12.

The crash caused about $500 damage to Patsch's Jeep and $1,000 to the Toyota, police said.

Patsch was a patrolman in Pinellas Park, Unmisig said. It was unclear Wednesday if he had any previous discipline in his file.

Patsch is the second local police officer within the past week to be accused of drunken driving.

On Sunday morning, St. Petersburg police Officer Jenna Price was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on a misdemeanor DUI charge.

Authorities said Price was passed out in her car at an intersection in Pinellas County. A person called 911 when Price's car didn't move after a few cycles of the traffic signal.

She has been placed on administrative leave while her agency conducts an investigation.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.

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