Archive for August 12th, 2011

The Unwritten Code

Friday, August 12th, 2011

So what happens when cops are called to an accident with a school bus caused by an obviously (.20%)  drunk driver…and discover he's a cop?  


Houston Police Threaten to Arrest Photographers to Protect Their Own

Houston, TX. Aug. 11 — With a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit and several open containers of booze in his truck, Houston Police Sergeant Ruben Trejo was on his way to work when he crashed into a school bus last April.

While it became immediately obvious he was drunk, his fellow officers responding to the accident did their best to cover up for him, including threatening to arrest witnesses who tried photographing the open containers in his truck.

Not only did police cite the bus driver for running a stop sign – when witnesses told them it was Trejo who ran the stop sign – they went on record with the media assuring he was not drunk.

But two weeks later, Trejo was charged with DWI. And only because local reporters kept pestering police about it.

According to the original news report from KHOU:

An HPD spokesman said the bus driver ran a stop sign and caused the accident. But other witnesses said the officer was the one who ran a stop sign.

The bus driver said she thinks he'd been drinking.

"He smelled drunk and he had beer and wine opened in his car," Teresa Argueta said.

Other witnesses said officers at the scene threw a towel over the open containers and threatened to arrest anyone who took photos.

Here is what the Houston Chronicle wrote two weeks later.

A veteran Houston police officer with a blood-alcohol content of .205 — more than twice the legal limit — was driving to work when he collided with a private school bus this month, authorities said.

Ruben Trejo, 46, was charged Monday with driving while intoxicated in connection with an April 13 wreck that sent him to the hospital. The legal limit for intoxication is 0.08.

Trejo collided with a school bus in the 7900 block of Harrisburg while off-duty in his personal vehicle, a Toyota Tundra pickup, about 2:15 p.m., HPD spokesman John Cannon said.

A sergeant on the Eastside patrol division, Trejo was en route to work when he wrecked, Cannon said. There were no children aboard the bus.

And as reporters kept digging, they learned he has a long history of traffic collisions, with ABC Local uncovering the following:

According to HPD's disciplinary records, Trejo has been named at fault in four accidents in 1990, 1992, 1999 and 2000. He was also cited for insubordination and conduct and behavior problems in 2008.


For other examples of the "unwritten code" among police officers in DUI cases, see some of my past posts:  The DUI Double Standard, The Blue Cover-Up and Guarding the Guardians.  


(Thanks to Andre Campos.)
 

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