Former NMSP officer accused of DWI strikes plea deal

New Mexico News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The now-former New Mexico State Police officer who hid her keys to get out of a DWI arrest has struck a plea deal. Jessica Turner was an off-duty NMSP officer three years ago when she was found parked off the side of a highway near Alamogordo passed out behind the wheel of her truck.

Officers were looking for the truck after 911 calls reported the driver was all over the highway. Officers and deputies who responded to the scene said she smelled of alcohol and that she failed her field sobriety tests.

She wasn’t charged, and instead was given a ride home. Turner was only charged after KRQE News 13 showed the video of the traffic stop. Online court records show that in the plea deal, Turner accepted a conviction for tampering with evidence for a suspended sentence.

The DWI charge was dismissed. Turner also took the keys out of the ignition and hid them after deputies arrived so they couldn’t prove she had been driving. Turner quit as the New Mexico State Police Department was moving to fire her.

Former New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas, who was Turner’s boss at the time and the subject of a subsequent lawsuit of Turner’s, released a statement to KRQE News 13 Monday.

New Mexico State Police has a high standard of conduct expectation of its officers. As the chief, it was my job to uphold that standard. I continue to believe my decision was sound in the disciple that I dealt Turner.

What the criminal justice system does is beyond my control. The Turner incident was intertwined with a greater issue that in my opinion involved corruption at the highest levels. That not being addressed is as concerning for me as a law enforcement officer walking away from an alleged DWI.

Pete Kassetas, former NMSP chief

Late last year, Turner dropped her lawsuit against Kassetas. Turner went on trial last summer which ended in a hung jury. Turner’s attorney, Gary Mitchell, said Monday that he maintains Turner was not drunk. Mitchell said Turner was suffering a medical episode and that they took the plea agreement so everyone can move on.

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