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Nevada transportation officer with DUI history arrested on heroin charge

Updated December 8, 2017 - 12:19 pm

A state law officer who had multiple DUI arrests and fled the scene of his crashed state vehicle last month is facing new charges of drunken driving and buying heroin for himself and his mother.

Tri-NET Narcotics Task Force officers arrested Nevada Transportation Authority supervisor Robert Reasoner, 36, in Carson City about 3 p.m. Wednesday after authorities say he set up the purchase of 3 grams of heroin, records from the Carson City County Sheriff’s department show.

The state task force officers had received tips this summer that Reasoner was involved with illegal narcotics.

“Everyone talks,” task force Sgt. Dan Johnson told the Review-Journal. “We live in the gutter in these (drug) units, and we start hearing things.”

Reasoner met a confidential informant Wednesday morning, gave him $160 and directed him to buy 3 grams of heroin for “him and his mother,” the police report said.

He asked the informant to mark two bags with an “R” for him in the event that the cooperating witness dropped off the drugs at his mother’s house when Reasoner was not there, police reports said.

About 3:10 p.m., Reasoner and his mother, who has not been charged, left her Carson City house and drove to meet the confidential informant at a fast food restaurant, the report said. When Reasoner left the vehicle to go into the restaurant, officers arrested him.

Police suspected he was impaired, and he had a half bottle of vodka. Police arrested him again for driving under the influence, records show.

It was Reasoner’s fifth suspected drunken driving arrest since 2006.

He was found guilty of DUI in 2006 and 2016. He also pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless driving charge after a 2011 drunken driving arrest. In the Jan. 5 incident, he was suspected of being under the influence when he crashed a state vehicle into a parked car and ran from the scene, police files show.

Authorities said they couldn’t prosecute him for DUI for the Jan. 5 arrest because they didn’t find him until two hours later. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and having two open cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon in his state vehicle, records show.

Despite that history, it wasn’t until Jan. 6 that NTA officials suspended him.

On Wednesday, Bruce Breslow, director of the Department of Business and Industry, which includes the NTA, fired the authority’s deputy commissioner, Chris Schneider, and chief of enforcement Michael Bradford.

Reasoner is on paid administrative leave while the state investigates his actions. Civil service protections prevent Breslow from firing him without a hearing, unlike Schneider and Bradford, who were at-will employees.

“I’m grateful that public safety kept an eye on (Reasoner) since his release on bail,” Breslow said Thursday morning.

Bail was set at $20,000 for each felony charge of conspiracy to violate the controlled substances act and arranging the sale of the heroin. But Johnson said Reasoner is not likely to be released because the bail resulting from the Jan. 5 crash required him to stay out of trouble.

Johnson said police will ask the district attorney to charge Reasoner’s mother in the near future.

Johnson said Reasoner’s mother told them she did not use drugs. But when authorities raided her house to execute a search warrant, they found drug paraphernalia.

Reasoner did not return a message left on his cellphone, and his mother did not return a call left at her house.

Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury said Reasoner clearly has a problem.

“He’s kind of spiraling out of control,” he said in a phone interview.

Contact Arthur Kane at akane@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ArthurMKane on Twitter.