Baton Rouge cop not charged despite crashing patrol car after night of drinking
Authorities in Baton Rouge insisted that a former officer was not given special treatment despite crashing his former patrol car after a night out at a local bar, WBTV-TV reported.
“I don’t feel that he did,” Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said. “This officer lost his job. He resigned in lieu of termination for incident that occurred.”
Records show that the officer, Byron Boudreaux, admitted to losing control of his vehicle early on Sept. 11 and causing his car to go into a lake. He said he drank three beers at a bar earlier in the evening before heading home. After returning home, however, a woman convinced him to take her on a ride in the car.
Boudreaux refused to take a field sobriety test and also refused to take a breath analysis test after being taken to the police office at Louisiana State University. He was then advised that he would be charged with driving under the influence, failure to maintain control of his vehicle, and reckless operation.
An hour and 45 minutes after the crash, Boudreaux agreed to take the breath test. He blew a .068, which is under the state limit of .08. He said he was “panicking and [not] thinking” when he initially refused the test.
McKneely said his department does not have a standard procedure in place for officers to follow when responding to reports of a motorist possibly driving under the influence. He said officers face “a judgment call” when deciding whether to issue someone a citation or take them to jail in that situation.
“It was up to that particular officer to make that decision,” McKneely told WBTV. “Officers, at their discretion, can make a decision on whether they are going to charge an individual with a particular citation.”
The investigating officer, identified as Sgt. Byron Fontenot, stated in his report that Boudreaux “had a distinct and unmistakable odor of an alcoholic beverage.” Fontenot also described Boudreaux’s eyes as being “glassy and blood shot red.”
Fontenot’s dashboard camera also captured him telling Boudreaux, “It’s not pleasant for me to do this.”
“I’m sorry I put you in this position,” Boudreaux replied.
Tulane University toxicology and pharmacology professor William George told WBTV that it is likely that Boudreaux would have blown a .100 had he taken the breath test closer to the time of the crash, given that he calculates that the human body can break down alcohol at a rate of 17.5 milligrams percent per hour.
“The blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was in fact 32mg percent more than at the time of the breath test,” George estimated.
The department will reportedly take action against Boudreaux to recover some of the costs of towing and repairing his former vehicle.
Watch WBTV’s report, as aired on Tuesday, below.