Florida DUI charges against a Cocoa Beach police officer have been filed despite the fact James Edwards Wheeler blew 0.00 on a breath test. Police are now running a urine test as they believe the Cocoa Beach police officer may have been driving under the influence of drugs at the time if his arrest. Wheeler has also been charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
According to Titusville police they were alerted to a Chevy pickup that was driving recklessly around Challenger Memorial Parkway and Columbia Blvd. Wheeler veered off the road, struck some garbage cans and then left the scene of the accident. Later Wheeler was spotted driving the wrong way on Thomas Street. He was reportedly driving east in the westbound lane.
Officer Roger Bond eventually pulled Wheeler over where he was placed under arrest by Titusville Police Officer Mark Sypien. The Cocoa Beach police officer showed signs of impairment like glassy eyes and slurred speech according to Sypien. Although those are usually the signs of impairment for a drunk driver, the signs of impairment for someone driving on drugs are often different. That is why many counties now employ Drug Recognition Experts to determine if a driver is under the influence of a narcotic. There is no mention in the Florida Today story that a DRE evaluated Officer Wheeler before his arrest.
Sypien did administer field sobriety tests and he reported that the suspect did not perform those tests properly. It was after those roadside field sobriety tests that Wheeler agreed to a breath tests which showed no signs of alcohol. There was no mention in the Florida Today story from the Cocoa Beach Police Department of any pending punishment versus Wheeler following the arrest.