| Crime |

William Nelson, fire protection chief, busted for impersonating peace officer, DUI, pot in truck

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As fire protection chief for Hygiene, William Nelson is called upon to ensure the safety and well-being of people in his community. But on Saturday night, at least one local allegedly needed protection from him.

Nelson, 57, has been arrested on a potpourri of charges, including impersonating a police officer, DUI and possession of marijuana.

According to Rick Brough, spokesman for the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, Nelson and the driver of another car got into "some type of traffic altercation" -- one which apparently pissed off Nelson enough that he hit the red overhead lights mounted to the roof of his personal truck and pulled over the other driver near the intersection of North Foothills and North Saint Vrain Road. That would be a no-no even for someone employed fulltime as a firefighter. But the Hygiene department is a volunteer force. According to the Longmont Times-Call, makes his living as a real estate broker.

At this point, Nelson and the other driver got into what Brough cautiously refers to as "an interaction" -- one presumably serious enough that afterward, the other driver reported the incident. When BCSO deputies stopped Nelson, they soon came to the conclusion that he'd been drinking. He also had a pistol and a rifle in his car, as well as some marijuana and "drug paraphernalia," Brough says.

The final tally of charges: impersonating a peace officer (a class six felony), prohibited use of weapons, DUI, misuse of emergency lights, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

At least one of these counts should strike Nelson as familiar. The Times-Call notes that he was charged with driving while ability impaired back in 1996. He was sentenced to ten days in jail, one year of probation and 24 hours of community service.

He won't be able to serve the community as fire protection chief for a while. The day after the bust, the district announced that the board of directors had met in special session and decided to suspend Nelson "pending further investigation."

No word about whether he'll have to give up the red lights on the top of his truck, too.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Purse theft leads to 15 hours trapped in vent at Englewood's Charles Hay Elementary."

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