An off-duty Nassau County police officer was suspended without pay after his Wednesday arrest by Suffolk police, who say he was drinking and driving on the Long Island Expressway in Islandia, according to authorities.
Michael V. Bjornstad, 39, of Selden, was charged with driving while intoxicated after a Suffolk police officer observed him with “bloodshot glassy eyes, slurred speech, and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath,” according to a criminal complaint filed in Suffolk’s First District Court in Central Islip.
Bjornstad, a 13-year veteran assigned to Nassau’s Second Precinct, was driving east in a 2016 Chevrolet “in an intoxicated condition” near Exit 59 at 3:22 a.m., according to the complaint.
Bjornstad came to a “complete stop” in the right lane of the expressway, the complaint said, and “fell asleep.”
It’s unclear whether the responding Suffolk police officer woke Bjornstad.
During an interview with the Suffolk officer, Bjornstad was “unsteady on his feet and used his car fender for balance,” the complaint said. He also refused to perform a field sobriety test, the complaint said, and was arrested at 4:08 a.m.
He further refused a breath test after he was brought to a police precinct, the complaint said.
Bjornstad was suspended without pay, pending the results of an Internal Affairs Bureau investigation, said Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a Nassau police spokesman.
James McDermott, president of Nassau’s Police Benevolent Association, declined to comment.
Bjornstad pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance at his arraignment Wednesday before Judge Gaetan B. Lozito and is due back in court on Feb. 28, according to Sheila Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.
Willard F. Miller, Bjornstad’s Garden City-based attorney, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.