TAMPA (FOX 13) - A wrong-way driver blamed in the death of another driver "demonstrated odd behavior," according to his arrest records.
According to Hillsborough County arrest records, Stephen Paleveda jumped on top of a patrol vehicle while police attempted to restrain him following the deadly crash Sunday morning on the Selmon Expressway. Paleveda is the suspect charged in the crash that killed 68-year-old Bamnet Narongchai.
Paleveda refused to participate in field sobriety tests, but exhibited “bloodshot/glassy eyes,” “slurred/rambling speech,” and the “the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath.”
According the affidavit, Paleveda is also charged with resisting an officer without violence, vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter --pending blood result -- and leaving the scene of a crash with death.
Shortly after midnight Sunday, Tampa police said reports came in describing a reckless driver traveling without headlights, running red lights, and driving the wrong way down one-way streets in the downtown area. They said that driver was Paleveda.
Investigators said Paleveda then gained entrance onto the Selmon Expressway near Hyde Park, but he was heading eastbound in the westbound lanes. He didn’t get far before he drove, head on, into Bamnet Narongchai, causing a fiery crash.
Officials said Narongchai was killed, while Paleveda attempted to flee the scene.
Paleveda was caught a short time late by police, and was taken to receive medical treatment before being released into police custody.