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2010-01-28

SAPD officer arrested for DWI

By Judith Pannebaker

Things went from bad to worse for an officer with the San Antonio Police Department on Sunday, Jan. 24. Joe Serrato, 36, of Mico, was arrested on FM 1283 in Lakehills, charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

According to Chief Deputy Richard Smith, a driver notified emergency dispatch about a possible intoxicated driver on Highway 173 from Hondo. The vehicle then turned east on Highway 16, apparently traveling at a high rate of speed. Complaints to emergency dispatch continued. On FM 1283, reports indicated that Serrato’s vehicle had crossed a yellow centerline several times.

Bandera County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputy Casey Young eventually stopped Serrato by Lakewood Park Estates on FM 1283.

When asked for his driver’s license, Serrato instead flashed a SAPD badge. Casey had to request the driver’s license several times before Serrato finally produced it, Smith said.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Glenn Scales, who assisted with the traffic stop, conducted a field sobriety test, which Serrato subsequently failed. Based on the failure, a strong smell of alcohol and obvious signs of intoxication, Casey arrested Serrato and transported him to the Bandera County Jail at approximately 8:30 pm.

While at the jail, Serrato refused an intoxilyzer test. According to Smith, it is standard operating procedure to offer an intoxilyzer test to motorists arrested on DWI charges.

In Texas, such refusal can lead to suspension of a driver’s license. It is against the law to operate a vehicle - or to even “attempt” to operate a vehicle - at or above .08 percent blood alcohol concentration.

BCSO Cpl. Mike Dickerson transported a passenger in Serrato’s vehicle to a convenience store in Lakehills. The passenger exhibited no signs of intoxication and was not arrested.

Serrato posted bond and was released from jail on Monday, Jan. 22. This was his first DWI arrest.

As a courtesy, Smith called the office of San Antonio Police Chief William McManus to inform him one of his officers had been arrested for DWI.