BALTIMORE (WBAL/CNN) - Witnesses say they saw a Baltimore police car parked at the curb with lights flashing and the officer inside slumped behind the wheel. That officer was later fired and charged with driving under the influence.
Officials identified the officer, a probationary officer who was recently hired, as Aaron Heilman. His blood alcohol level tested at 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit, according to officials.
Witnesses first raised concerns about Heilman Tuesday afternoon, saying he looked to be impaired while sitting in his police vehicle.
The patrol car was parked at a curb with its lights flashing. Witnesses say Heilman, who was working and in full uniform, had slumped over behind the wheel and appeared to be asleep.
One witness says he had to wake the officer up.
"I started banging on the window pretty hard. He came to a little bit, and I asked him to wind down his window and he did. As he wound down his window, I asked him if he was OK. He said he was, but he was a little disoriented and I also smelled what I thought was alcohol,” the witness said.
Officers arrived on the scene to check on Heilman’s well-being. One officer removed his gun, and they took him out of his patrol car and drove him away.
“He was having a very difficult time walking. He had an officer on each side of him. They had to assist him in walking,” the witness said.
Heilman was taken to Central Booking on suspicion of being under the influence, where he agreed to a breathalyzer test.
Police say he was cited and suspended immediately following the results. He was subsequently terminated by Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle.
“I looked at the totality of the circumstances involved in this case, and I made the decision to terminate this officer immediately,” Tuggle said. “His actions represented a safety issue for himself and the community. I simply won’t tolerate it.”
Officials say Heilman began working approximately three hours before he was discovered slumped behind the wheel. He had been off for the two days prior.