Tasered officer is charged, resigns
Pinellas Park officer Jason M. Nosal is charged with DUI in a July 5 incident involving a passed-out driver, a Largo police officer and a Taser.
By ANNE LINDBERG
Published July 28, 2006
PINELLAS PARK - A Pinellas Park police officer who was Tasered by a Largo police officer resigned Wednesday, the same day he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Officer Jason M. Nosal and his attorney appeared at the Largo Police Department Wednesday evening, where he surrendered his driver's license and formally received a misdemeanor DUI citation. He will appear in court Aug. 15.
The charge stems from a July 5 incident in which a woman called police to report that a man had followed her home and was passed out in his car in her driveway, according to Largo police.
Largo police responded and used a Taser on Nosal after he woke up flailing, police said. Largo officials said they didn't initially cite him because they were waiting for the results of a blood test taken at the hospital where Nosal was taken after he was Tasered.
The results, which came back Wednesday, showed Nosal's blood alcohol level was 0.220 to 0.222 percent. In Florida, 0.08 percent is the level at which a person is presumed to be impaired. The tests also found traces of MDA and MDMA, or ecstasy, an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and a psychedelic, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. MDA is the parent drug of MDMA.
Pinellas Park Police Chief Dorene Thomas called the situation disappointing. Nosal was a good officer but faced termination because of the incident, she said.
For his part, Nosal denied taking any drugs, implying that they had been slipped to him, Thomas said.
Largo police declined to release their incident report, saying the case was still being investigated. But Capt. James Precious, patrol division commander, provided more details about that night:
The incident began a little after 8 p.m., when a woman called 911. She told dispatchers that someone had followed her home and pulled into her driveway behind her. The car, she said, was still in her driveway with someone in it.
Two Largo officers went to the woman's house on Cork Street and found the car with its engine still running and the windows down, a man slumped in the driver's seat, Precious said.
"The officer sees that this guy is not sleeping, but passed out," Precious said. One of the officers reached into the car to turn off the engine and apparently jostled the man, because he woke up and started "flailing his arms."
The officer thought the man was trying to put the car in drive and the car began to move, Precious said. The officer, fearing he would be dragged as the car drove away, shot the man with his Taser.
Police were then able to stop the car and pull the man out.
After they had handcuffed him and turned him over, one of the officers recognized him as a Pinellas Park police officer.
Because he was "clearly under the influence of something," the officers called paramedics, who suggested Nosal be taken to the hospital, Precious said. Officers followed him to Largo Medical Center, where the doctor drew blood and decided he should be admitted. Police later obtained a warrant for his blood.