Denver police officer suspended 16 days for February DUI crash

DENVER — An officer with the Denver Police Department has been suspended for more than two weeks after being arrested for driving under the influence, according to a disciplinary letter.

Officer Jayson Spitzer was arrested on Feb. 2 after crashing his vehicle in at the off-ramp to Garrison Street from Sixth Avenue in Lakewood after attending a party in Denver.

RELATED: Spitzer disciplinary letter

The vehicle suffered significant damage and was inoperable because of a disconnected transmission hose. A tow truck driver responded to the scene and smelled alcohol on Spitzer’s breath, then called the Lakewood Police Department.

A responding officer said he could also smell alcohol on Spitzer’s breath and had him perform a roadside sobriety test, which he failed. Spitzer, who was off duty, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.165 percent, which is more than double the legal limit, according to the disciplinary letter. He estimated he drank five to seven drinks over several hours.

Spitzer was charged with careless driving and DUI but pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired and a lane usage violation. He did not lose his driving privileges because the arresting officer did not appear at the DMV hearing, according to the disciplinary letter.

Spitzer was notified of his 16-day suspension on Aug. 9.

“Officer Spitzer was generally cooperative with police investigating this incident and he has taken responsibility for his conduct,” according to the letter, which was signed by Jess Vigil, the deputy director of the Department of Safety.

“However, there are at least two significant aggravating circumstances in this case. … Given these circumstances, the aggravated penalty of a sixteen (16) day suspension without pay is warranted.”