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Prosecutor resigns after second DUI arrest

TAMPA — A Pinellas-Pasco prosecutor resigned Monday following her second DUI arrest.

Tampa police pulled over Lydia Dempsey Wardell, 40, after they saw her speeding and driving carelessly on Bayshore Boulevard about 5 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.

Wardell would not "verbally communicate with us or our commands, and did not appear to comprehend basic instructions," a police report said.

She failed field sobriety exercises. When asked if she had a problem with alcohol, Wardell told police that was a "loaded question," the report said.

Police later learned that Wardell had been involved in a Hyde Park hit-and-run where a witness wrote down her vehicle's tag number, the report said. Wardell was charged with DUI and leaving the scene of a crash with property, jail records state.

She was released from jail after posting bail Sunday.

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Wardell has been on unpaid leave from her job for about three or four months for reasons he could not disclose. She resigned from her job in a fax to McCabe.

In 2005, Wardell was sentenced to 12 months' probation for driving under the influence during a car accident. Another six months for culpable negligence was levied against her because she carried her two sons, 3 and 6, in the car at the time.

Before her first arrest, Wardell was known for her aggressive pursuit of DUI and other cases as one of two misdemeanor court supervisors for the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney.

Prosecutor resigns after second DUI arrest 07/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, July 14, 2008 9:51pm]
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