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St. Petersburg officer with DUI arrest is suspended

ST. PETERSBURG — Jenna Price was so drunk that she fell asleep behind the wheel of her car last year while it was stopped at a red light, authorities said.

Two concerned citizens called authorities, and a Pinellas County deputy who responded shook the 26-year-old awake, a report said.

Court records show Price pleaded no contest in January to a misdemeanor DUI charge and was given six months of probation.

Her license also was revoked for six months, though she is allowed to drive for work.

On Thursday, her boss — police Chief Chuck Harmon — handed down his own punishment.

Price, who has been a police officer since 2007, was suspended for five weeks and must not drink alcohol for five years.

She also will be subject to random alcohol screenings for the next 18 months.

"Officer Jenna Price was very remorseful and forthright during the investigation," Harmon wrote in a memo.

Price was off-duty and in her personal vehicle when a Pinellas deputy arrested her at about 3:45 a.m. Oct. 14 at 54th Avenue N and 66th Street.

The night before, police said, Price had been at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and then was driven to the Bishop Tavern in downtown St. Petersburg.

Price drank "at least four beers and two liquor drinks" over a nearly seven-hour period, Harmon's memo said.

Price told internal affairs investigators she was driven home that night but must have left her home to get food.

She said she doesn't remember getting behind the wheel of her car or encountering Pinellas deputies, a report said.

The Sheriff's Office said Price refused field sobriety tests, but her blood-alcohol level was recorded at 0.185 and 0.173 percent. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired when his or her alcohol level is above 0.08 percent.

Price, currently assigned to the county's violent crimes task force, was taken off the streets pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.

She will not be paid while on suspension.

Price admitted responsibility for her mistake, police said. She told investigators she drank "beyond her limits," and "had no business driving," the report said.

She has already taken advantage of the department's support services.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8643.

St. Petersburg officer with DUI arrest is suspended 03/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 8:06pm]
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