Cop named as suspect in DWI case, not arrested

News

A New Mexico State Police officer is named as the suspect in a DWI stop, but deputies didn’t arrest her.
Instead, they gave her a ride home.

The Otero County Sheriff’s Department responded to the drunk driving call last week.

The investigation led them to Jessica Turner, who used to work for that sheriff’s department before joining State Police.

On Special Assignment, KRQE News 13 has obtained the incident report that shows that deputies were on the lookout last week for a suspected drunk driver in a white pickup truck, going west on Highway 82 near Alamogordo around 7:15 p.m.

Dispatch said the driver “was traveling without headlights on, but kept flashing their high beams” and that the truck “also ran another vehicle off the road.”

A deputy found a white pickup truck matching the description parked along the highway just six miles from where the suspect was last reported.

The deputy stated in his report that he and a State Police officer at the scene found Jessica Turner slouched over her knees in the driver seat.

Turner typically wears a uniform herself.

She’s a current State Police officer and a former Otero County Sheriff’s deputy.

KRQE News 13 is told Turner is also in a relationship with Michael Ryan Suggs.

He was State Police Deputy Chief until two weeks ago when Gov. Susana Martinez announced his appointment as an Otero County Magistrate Judge.

Despite the incident report noting the truck’s engine was still warm, that it smelled like alcohol inside, and that Turner tried and failed to perform field sobriety tests, she did not get arrested.

She got a ride home.

“I gave Ms. Turner a ride to her residence without incident,” the deputy states in his report.

KRQE News 13 tried to reach Turner for comment. She did not respond.

The sheriff’s department was also contacted. Sheriff Benny House didn’t respond to KRQE News 13’s phone call or email.

The report simply says “it was decided not to arrest Ms. Turner for driving under the influence” because no officer witnessed Turner driving, the truck wasn’t running when they arrived and deputies didn’t know where her keys were.

There is dashcam video of the interaction between Otero County deputies, a State Police officer and Turner at the DWI stop.

KRQE News 13 has made formal requests for that, and will air the video if and when it’s released. 

KRQE News 13 also reached out to State Police to ask about Turner’s job status in the wake of this incident. NMSP says she’s now on paid leave and under internal investigation.

In response, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas issued the following statement:

“Allegations involving one of my officers were brought to my attention. These allegations are concerning and I take them seriously. An internal investigation has been opened to thoroughly look into the incident. At this time, because this is an ongoing, internal departmental matter, we are unable to discuss further details.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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