Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- A state attorney's office investigator, arrested on a DUI chargeChristmas morning, has been named a suspect in a hit-and-run crash thatkilled a man on McGregor Boulevard.
Charles Lawson, who hasworked for the state attorney's office since 2004, remains in custodyat Lee County Jail. His bond is listed as $750, according to the LeeCounty Sheriff's Office website.
The Florida HighwayPatrol is investigating whether Lawson is responsible for killingMichael J. Sasen, 48, of Fort Myers, who was struck by a vehicle whilewalking down McGregor just after midnight Christmas morning.
Theresponsible vehicle fled, but about half an hour later, FHP trooperspulled over a vehicle driving near the scene that had damage consistentwith striking a pedestrian, according to FHP Lt. Gregory Bueno.
Lawson was driving the vehicle. He refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test, and was arrested on a DUI charge, Bueno said.
Lawson has not been arrested in connection with Sasen's death, but he is the only suspect in the investigation.
"We'regoing to investigate what events he was doing prior to that accidentoccurring, and if he and his vehicle were involved," Bueno said. "Wedon't want to assume anything or jump to any conclusions."
FHPhas impounded Lawson's vehicle and will examine it for physicalevidence including blood, hair or scraps of clothing. Any evidence foundwill be sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab forprocessing, which could take several weeks, Bueno said.
Lawsonwas driving a state-issued 2013 Chevy Impala when he was arrested,according to state attorney's office spokeswoman Samantha Syoen. But hewas off duty and was not acting in the scope of his employment.
Lawenforcement informed the state attorney's office of the arrestWednesday morning, and the state attorney's office suspended Lawson withpay. Today staff started an internal investigation into the case.
Syoendeclined to speculate on what employment penalties Lawson could face,but said it is office policy that employees must obey all state andlocal laws when driving a state-issued vehicle.
"Any responsibilities he had will just be handled by a different investigator at this time," Syoen said.
Asan investigator, Lawson's primary duties included picking up witnessesand bringing them to court. Syoen said as far as she knows, none of thestate attorney's office cases will be jeopardized as a result ofLawson's arrest.
The state attorney's office has requestedthe governor's office reassign Lawson's case to another circuit. It'scommon practice to reassign any case that might cause a conflict ofinterest, Syoen said.
FHP is treating Lawson's case as it would any other death on its roadways, according to Bueno.
"If it warrants charges," he said, "obviously we will charge whoever's at fault accordingly."
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