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2015-01-29

SAFD firefighter, arrested for felony DWI, resigns

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

After being arrested last fall in the City of Bandera for a third DWI, a lieutenant with the San Antonio Fire Department has resigned.
At the time of his resignation, Lee Michael Stanphill, 39, was assigned to the department's technical services division. In his 15 years with the SAFD, he had also served as a paramedic.
However, Stanhill's career came to an abrupt halt in late October after he was arrested for a third-degree felony DWI while driving a vehicle owned by the City of San Antonio.
On Thursday, Oct. 30, at approximately 4:56 pm, Bandera Deputy Marshal Willie Smith responded to an assistance call from deputies with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office. The call was about a possible intoxicated driver heading toward the city from Pipe Creek.
A clerk working at a convenience store in Pipe Creek called emergency dispatch after she purportedly observed a man urinating on the floor in the store. Before law enforcement arrived, however, the then-unidentified man left the location in a white Ford extended cab pickup, according to the clerk.
A short while later, Smith stopped the vehicle on Old San Antonio Road. According to the law enforcement report, Smith detected a strong odor of an alcohol as he approached Stanphill, whose eyes were described as "glassy and bloodshot." Smith also noted that Stanphill "spoke with extremely slow and slurred speech" and that he moved "sluggishly and appeared to be unsteady on his feet." Stanphill was unable to locate the vehicle's insurance card.
When Stanphill exited his vehicle, Smith noted in the arrest report that his pants were undone and his zipper down and there appeared to be a urine stain on the front of his pants.
Stanphill refused to submit to a field sobriety test. After being arrested, he was transported to the Bandera County Jail, where a blood sample was obtained.
Stanphill was booked into the jail. However, a short while later, Smith learned that, according to the jail administrator, Stanphill had become ill and was unconscious. By request, Dietrich then "released" Stanphill, enabling EMS personnel to transport him to another facility. Follow-up reports indicated that Stanphill eventually ended up at an alcohol and drug treatment center in Hunt.
The following week, a SAFD spokesman released a statement: "The San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) is aware of SAFD Lieutenant Lee Stanphill's prior arrests, and Lt. Stanphill was subsequently suspended as authorized by state statute and the current Collective Bargaining Agreement with the San Antonio Professional FireFighters' Association.
"Following Lt. Stanphill's arrest in 2012, a restriction was put in place barring him from driving a City of San Antonio (COSA) vehicle to and from home. Therefore, Lt. Stanphill was in violation of this restriction when he was arrested on Oct. 30, 2014. It is also a violation of the SAFD's Rules and Regulations to consume alcohol while in SAFD uniform and while or prior to operating a COSA vehicle."
According to the arrest, Stanphill's criminal history showed that he had been convicted for DWI in Kendall County in November 2009 and in July 2013, Other reports indicated he had also been the subject of multiple other arrests.
Stanhill remained on suspension until his resignation in December, according to SAFD spokeswoman Deborah Foster, in an email, she confirmed Stanphill is no longer with the SAFD.
His case has not yet been brought to the Bandera County Grand Jury.