Earlier this week, a sentence was handed down in a drunk driving case involving a former officer with the St. Louis Police Department who was involved in a serious accident during the holiday season two years ago.
According to the court documents, the then 27-year-old police officer drove his vehicle the wrong way down a one-way street in South City during the early morning hours of December 24, 2011 before colliding with a patrol car being driven by an on-duty police officer who had just finished working a DWI checkpoint.
The accident left the on-duty officer with injuries to his leg and hip, while the passenger in the car being driven by the off-duty officer suffered a severe head injury. Fortunately, both men have since recovered from their injuries.
The court documents also state that immediately after the crash, the off-duty officer carried a strong odor of alcohol and showed certain signs of intoxication. Furthermore, it indicated that investigators found beer cans strewn throughout the interior of his automobile, and that he refused to submit to either a breath or blood test.
While awaiting trial on multiple DUI-related charges, the off-duty officer was suspended without pay and ultimately resigned from the force in August 2012. Just last month, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault, causing injury by driving while intoxicated.
In recent developments, the officer was sentenced earlier this week to five years probation with special conditions, including complete abstinence from alcohol, 60 hours of community service, mandatory attendance at AA meetings and participation in a victims’ impact panel.
While many people have expressed outrage over the purported lienency of the sentence handed down by the presiding judge, it should be pointed out that the off-duty officer already lost his job because of the incident and suffered considerable public embarrassment.
Furthermore, the attorney representing the off-duty officer has pointed out that his client has not only avoided alcohol altogether since the crash, but that he is incredibly sorry for everything that transpired.
“I don’t think one night defines a person in any way,” he said.
If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced attorney who will explain your options, and fight to protect your future and your freedom.
Source: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Former St. Louis cop gets probation in a drunken driving case,” Tara Kulash, July 30, 2013; KMOV, “Former St. Louis police officer gets probation for drunk-driving collision,” Lauren Trager, July 30, 2013