POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury employee is suspended from his job after being suspected of drinking and driving in a parish-owned vehicle.
Around 11:20 a.m. Monday, Earl Nelson Jr. was driving westbound on Highway 190 in Pointe Coupee Parish in a Police Jury issued truck when the police report says he swerved into the inside lane hitting another vehicle's mirror with his truck's mirror.
Pointe Coupee Sheriff Bud Torres said Nelson proceeded driving so the other vehicle's driver followed him until he stopped near the Chevron on Hwy 190 before Highway 78 near Livonia.
When a deputy arrived on scene, he found the other vehicle's driver holding two cold beer cans. After further investigation, the deputy was told Nelson threw two "very cold to the touch" beer cans out of his truck onto Highway 190 near a ditch.
"They were cold, which indicated to the deputy that he had just recently been purchased and after talking to our suspect, he actually informed the deputy that he just recently purchased the beer," said Sheriff Torres.
The deputy took Nelson into custody where officials say his blood-alcohol content (BAC) was a 0.18%. The legal limit in Louisiana is .08%.
Nelson was on duty at the time of the crash, and works as a laborer with the Pointe Coupee Police Jury.
"The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury's Employee Substance Abuse & Drug-Free Workplace policy is clear that the Police Jury will not tolerate any substance abuse which imperils the well being of its employees and the public. Also it is the policy of the Police Jury to drug test all employees who are involved in any accident while on the job. Mr. Nelson has been drug tested per the policy and we are awaiting those results," said Parish Administrator Jimmy Bello.
Nelson has been suspended without pay until further notice and could face termination.
"Mr. Nelson's use of alcohol on the job is a terminable offense per the parish policy, however the Police Jury also understands the human side of substance abuse and its potential impact on our employees and their families. The Jury's policy also allows for consideration of rehabilitation services at the expense and time of the employee. We are disappointed in Mr. Nelson's actions and not following our parish employee policy," said Bello.
Earl Nelson Jr. is charged with DWI (first offense) and careless operation with an accident.
He bonded out Monday evening at $3,000.