Houston Officers are Disciplined for Covering Up a Fellow Officer’s DWI


According to official documents made public this week, on April 21, 2011, Sgt. R. Trejo, an off-duty Houston Police Officer, slammed into the back of a school bus.  The driver of the bus got out to make contact with him, and immediately noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath.  He also observed several wine bottles inside of Trejo’s car.  However, the police who were called to the scene somehow did not conclude that Trejo had caused the accident because he was intoxicated.  Instead, they proceeded to hide evidence and cover up the crime.  It was later revealed that officers who made the scene covered up the wine bottles with a cloth so that they could not be seen by the public, and later failed to collect these bottles as evidence.  No attempt was made by any of the officers to further determine whether Trejo was intoxicated.  Blood tests later determined that Trejo had a blood alcohol concentration of .205, which is more than twice the legal limit.  The investigating officers failed to follow even the most basic police protocols, and were eventually reprimanded by the chief of police himself.

Mark Clark, the executive director of the Houston Police Officer’s Union issued a statement defending the investigating officers’ actions.  He stated that at the time of the crash, despite the suspicious nature of the accident, the fact that Trejo smelled like alcohol, and the fact that there were wine bottles inside of his car, the police had insufficient evidence to believe Trejo had driven while intoxicated.   This statement is not only ridiculous, it flies in the face of everything we as attorneys know about DWI investigations.  The facts that Clark has outlined have justified many a DWI arrest.  They certainly would justify further investigation into whether or not a Defendant was intoxicated.  Clark is also defending several police officers who not only disregarded HPD policy, but likely committed a felony while they were doing it. Section 37.09 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a crime for a person who knows that an official investigation is taking place to alter, destroy, or conceal evidence with the intent to impair its availability in a future proceeding.  If a person is convicted under this section the punishment can be anything from probation to 10 years in prison.

If you are suspected of DWI, you should not expect to be afforded the same benefit of the doubt as Sgt. Trejo.  You should be respectful of the police, but know that they are only gathering evidence with which to show that you are intoxicated.  Any evidence that you are sober will not be recorded by the officers, and it will take a skilled defense attorney to get them to admit that their evidence gathering procedures were flawed, and that their investigation did not rule out any of the various sources of driver impairment other than alcohol.  If you have been accused of DWI call the Law Office of The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp for a free consultation.