Port Richey to discuss City Manager Tom O'Neill's DUI charge Wednesday

8:03 PM, Sep 4, 2013   |    comments
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Dash Cam video of Port Richey's City Manager, Tom O'Neill, caused the New Port Richey Chief of Police to re-open the case from the night he was possibly intoxicated behind the wheel, but not issued a DUI.
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Port Richey, FL -- Could Port Richey's city manager lose his job? The city council has called a special meeting to discuss Tom O'Neill's recent run-in with the law.

It was an incident that sparked accusations of favoritism -- and ultimately saw O'Neill charged with DUI.

Today, 10 News caught up with the city manager, who was in no mood to talk about it.

On July 13, the night O'Neill was discovered sitting in his SUV with the engine running, the officer who found him reported O'Neill showing all the signs of intoxication.

The report showed O'Neill had "watery, blood-shot eyes, a dazed expression, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol". 

See also: Police chiefs, O'Neill under scrutiny from police video

Yet, O'Neill was never given a field sobriety test.

Instead, he was taken to a local hospital for a possible medical condition. A decision that may have had something to do with Port Richey Police Chief Dave Brown paying a personal visit to the scene.

"It looks bad. And I agree with that. It does look bad," Brown told us in an interview last month.

At the time, Brown told us he'd gone to the scene to inform the New Port Richey officer investigating that O'Neill was a personal friend and needed medical attention. It was at that point EMT's took O'Neill to the hospital rather than subjecting him to a field sobriety test.

But three weeks later, the State Attorney saw the video, subpoenaed medical records from the hospital, and found out O'Neill's blood alcohol level that night was a staggering .367. That's more than four times the legal limit.

See also: O'Neill charged with DUI after blood test shows BAC 4 times legal limit

Today, 10 News caught up with Mr. O'Neill, who has remained on the job as city manager since the incident.

Port Richey council members have been fairly silent on the issue until now.

But with blood test results in-hand, and O'Neill cited for misdemeanor DUI, they've called a special council meeting for 8:00 Wednesday night to talk about it.

When asked if he had anything to say about the number that came back, O'Neill said, "I don't have any comment."

He had the same response when 10 News asked is he intended to stay with the city.

"I don't have any comment," he repeated.

Council members also either declined to comment, or did not return our calls today ahead of the special meeting, but Port Richey residents were not as shy about weighing in.

"I think he should be penalized and/or prosecuted as all of us," said resident Don Savick.

Kim Louwaert agreed.

"To be honest, I think he probably should lose his job," she said. "It's just not right. He needs to be punished. Unfortunately, he made that choice."

Tom O'Neill's court date isn't until Sept. 12, so some council members may decide to hold off on punishment, if any, until then.

Follow 10 News Reporter Eric Glasser on twitter @ericglassertv

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