Tahoe snowplow driver suspected of DUI while on duty

By Adam Jensen

Nevada Appeal News Service

An on-duty South Lake Tahoe city snowplow driver was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving over the weekend after someone spotted him apparently sleeping inside the cab of the plow, officials said.

The driver, 43-year-old Anthony Ortiz, has been placed on unpaid leave pending an investigation into the incident, according to South Lake Tahoe City Manager David Jinkens.

"The processes of justices will work its way through," Jinkens said. "I assure you we take the safety of the public, our employees and the community very seriously."

At 1:18 a.m. Sunday, a caller to South Lake Tahoe police dispatch reported a snowplow was stopped at the intersection of Dunlap Drive and Patricia Circle. The driver, later identified as Ortiz, appeared to be asleep.

After the caller knocked, Ortiz reportedly opened the door of the vehicle. A "strong odor" of alcohol emanated from inside the cab, the caller said.

A few minutes later, a second caller reported a male subject was holding the plow driver down. Police documents indicated the caller referred to the plow driver as "wasted."

South Lake Tahoe police arrived at the scene and arrested Ortiz on suspicion of driving under the influence, documents indicated.

Ortiz was booked into El Dorado County Jail on Sunday and has since been released.

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