A Durango post office employee is accused of spitting his feces on a police officer after being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.
Paul Andrew Kausalik, 61, of Durango is suspected of felony assault, driving under the influence and criminal mischief.
He is free on a personal-recognizance bond, meaning he didn’t have to pay anything but agrees to make future court appearances.
Kausalik is a highly visible figure at the Durango post office, 222 W. Eighth St. He works as a retail associate helping customers with their stamps and postal needs. He is a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service and has been working with the U.S. Postal Service in Durango since 1982, said Al DeSarro, the service’s spokesman for Colorado.
He remained employed with the service as of Tuesday.
According to an arrest affidavit, the events began at 11:59 p.m. Feb. 11 when a Durango Police Department officer observed a vehicle turn right onto 32nd Street from Main Avenue without using a turn signal.
The officer, Chad Langley, pulled Kausalik over on County Road 251, the extension of 32nd Street between Holly Avenue and East Animas Road (County Road 250).
While speaking to Kausalik, the officer detected alcohol on his breath, according to the affidavit.
Kausalik said he had not been drinking.
Kausalik performed voluntary roadside maneuvers, but not to Langley’s satisfaction, the affidavit says.
A preliminary breath test indicated he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.142, almost three times the 0.05 legal driving limit in Colorado.
Langley arrested Kausalik and took him to the Durango police station, 990 East Second Ave., for a formal breath test.
At the station, Kausalik asked to use the restroom.
Officer Langley twice found Kausalik asleep in the restroom.
He told Kausalik he could not stay in the restroom all night to avoid the breath test, and he needed to either take the test or choose a refusal.
Kausalik eventually left the bathroom looking at the floor, walking toward the officer.
Langley asked Kausalik what was in his mouth, and he continued to walk toward the officer, head down and expressionless.
When Kausalik was about 4 feet from the officer, Kausalik looked up, opened his mouth and took a deep breath.
“As I observed what he had in his mouth, I took a step back and began turning my head as he violently spit the contents of his mouth toward my face,” officer Langley wrote in the affidavit. “I felt the matter strike the left side of my face and head.”
Kausalik also had feces on his hands, the affidavit says.
He was restrained and taken to the La Plata County Jail and booked on suspicion of felony assault on a police officer.
Durango police Capt. Micki Browning said there are health concerns whenever an officer comes into contact with bodily fluids.
“I just get floored sometimes, the treatment our officers endure in the course of business,” she said. “It’s a reminder of what our guys go through and the things we do to keep the public safe. This is not something that is listed on any job description.”
Kausalik did not return a phone call left Tuesday at the Durango post office. He also did not return a phone call left at his home.
Formal charges are expected to be filed March 4 by the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.