MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — A police captain on Tuesday defended an officer's handling of a traffic stop in which a driver who had been drinking was ticketed and released, but was killed hours later in a single-car crash.
Officer Jeremy DeWitt did not have probable cause to arrest Jason Stacy, 29, after stopping him for speeding Monday, Janesville Police Capt. Dan Davis said.
A portable breath test indicated that Stacy's blood-alcohol level was 0.12 percent at the time, 1 1/2 times the legal limit in Wisconsin. But the cursory test doesn't meet the scientific standards of a formal Breathalyzer test and wouldn't hold up in court, Davis said.
Stacy passed three field sobriety tests of balance and coordination and then willingly submitted to the breath test, Davis said.
"Officer DeWitt reports that he saw no signs of physical impairment -- no bloodshot eyes, no odor, no slurred speech," Davis said. "When he asked Mr. Stacy to get out of the car, there was no evidence of poor balance."
The Rock County Sheriff's Department said it hopes to piece together what happened between the time Stacy was cited and the accident. Stacy's blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash won't be available for at least a week.
DeWitt initially reported seeing a car speed through downtown Janesville shortly after 1 a.m. Monday around 100 mph. He pulled Stacy over and had him leave his car in a parking lot. Stacy was ticketed for speeding and crossing the center line.
The officer then drove Stacy to the parking lot of a nearby bar, where he left him with his friend and his friend's wife about 1:40 a.m. At some point after that, Stacy picked up his car. He crashed into a tree two hours later.