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2015-05-28

SAPD detective arrested for DWI

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

An out-of-county law enforcement officer found out the hard way that it doesn't pay to drive around high water barricades when it's flooding in Bandera County.
Larry Price, a 25-year veteran detective assigned to the San Antonio Regional Intelligence Center, was arrested the night of Saturday, May 23, after ignoring admonitions of volunteer firefighters manning barricades on Highway 16 North. He was eventually charged with DWI, according to Bandera County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Matt King.
The incident began at 10 pm Saturday after high water barricades had been placed on Highway 16 North near Mansfield Park due to the Medina River overflowing its banks. While driving his personal vehicle, a blue Jeep, north on Highway 16 with three passengers, Price allegedly drove around the high water barricades and prepared to enter Mansfield Park.
After arguing with firefighters, Price noted, "I've been in the police department for over 30 years and know how to drive in water," according to a witness. Eventually, however, as per the arrest report, Price turned around and continued back toward Bandera.
At this point, a BOLO (be on the lookout for) went out over patrol radios that included a description of the vehicle.
At the corner of Cedar and Main streets, BCSO Sgt. Gerald "Jerry" Johnson stopped the vehicle. Price explained that he had attempted to get his passengers back to Mansfield Park where they were apparently staying at an on-premises camper at that locale.
While speaking with Price, Johnson suspected that he had been drinking and administered a field sobriety test. After Price allegedly failed the test and refused to submit to a breathalizer, Johnson arrested him and transported him to the county jail. Price's passengers were not taken into custody.
After being booked into jail, Price also refused to consent to a blood draw and a warrant was obtained for the procedure. The blood will be sent to the Department of Public Safety Laboratory in Austin for analysis. Price was off-duty when the incident occurred.
Price was released from jail on the next day under $2,000 bond.
When apprised of the incident, San Antonio Police Department Chief Anthony Treviño said, "The activity alleged, if proven, is certainly troubling and will not be tolerated. Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated."
According to Treviño, BCSO investigators will handle the criminal case against Price and SAPD Internal Affairs has launched an administrative investigation. Price has been placed on administrative leave.
"The flooding on Highway 16 started around 9 pm and barricades were in place shortly after that when the river got up very close to the highway," King said. By way of explaining Price's actions, he added, "Without a doubt, Det. Price wasn't using good judgment."
However, this wasn't the first time a San Antonio first responder has run afoul of the law in Bandera County.
In October 2014, Lee Michael Stanphill, 39, a lieutenant with the San Antonio Fire Department, resigned after being arrested for a felony third DWI in the City of Bandera. At the time of his arrest, Stanphill was driving a vehicle owned by the City of San Antonio.