TAMPA — A 24-year veteran Tampa police sergeant who was stopped after driving erratically late Sunday smelled of alcohol and failed a field sobriety test, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Around 11:30 p.m., James Simonson, 49, a road patrol sergeant who was off duty, was seen driving his 2004 Nissan Titan onto the grass along U.S. 301 near the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway, then veering back onto the road, according to Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.
Simonson's brake lights flashed numerous times, and he accelerated up to the car in front and then eased back, jerking from side to side in his lane, and made an abrupt lane change and accelerated, she said.
The deputy who pulled him over near Causeway Boulevard smelled alcohol on Simonson, and said his eyes were glassy, Carter said. Simonson failed a field sobriety test and was taken to jail. A blood-alcohol test measured 0.085 to 0.082, above the 0.08 level at which a driver is presumed impaired. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Simonson has been with the Tampa police for more than 24 years and was formerly head of the homicide squad.
He posted bail of $500 Monday. Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said Simonson has been placed on administrative leave.