ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – Weeks away from trial, a former New Mexico State Police officer accused in a high-profile DWI investigation is now asking for a judge to dismiss the case.
Jessica Turner is facing DWI and evidence tampering charges tied to a February 2018 incident where she was found slumped over the steering wheel in the driver’s seat of a truck that was pulled over on a rural highway outside of Alamogordo.
According to a new filing in the case, Turner’s lawyer, Gary Mitchell is asking the judge to dismiss the case, arguing that prosecutors have zero proof that Turner was driving when she was found asleep in her truck. The case ignited controversy after police reports and dash camera video of the incident showed how an Otero County Sheriff’s deputy had initially intended to arrest Turner for DWI, but later gave her a ride home.
At the time of the incident, Turner was a New Mexico State Police Officer and had previously worked as a deputy for the Otero County Sheriff’s Office. While Turner was never seen driving, prosecutors in the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office believed there was enough probable cause to charge Turner of DWI and evidence tampering in May 2018.
Turner’s trial is currently slated to begin on August 1, but a judge will now have to consider if it moves forward.
In the new motion to dismiss the case, Turner’s attorney argues that her truck was “properly parked off the road,” was “no longer being drive,” was “not running,” and that “the keys were not found in the vehicle or the ignition.” Turner’s defense argues that it’s all proof that she was not driving the vehicle and never intended to drive.
Deputies’ encounter with Turner was preceded by a 911 call to Otero County dispatchers. The caller reported seeing a white truck driving erratically and nearly being hit by the truck. However, Turner’s attorney also argues that neither the caller nor anyone else was able to positively ID the driver of the truck.
While there’s also that video of Turner losing her balance in field sobriety tests, her attorney says there’s, “no evidence Ms. Turner even consumed any alcohol.” Deputies never searched Turner’s truck for alcohol.
Turner’s attorney also notes that while police officers claimed to have smelled an odor of alcohol on Turner, and EMT did not note any specific odor. She was never given a breath test, either.
Turner resigned from her role as a State Police officer last year. It’s unclear when the judge may rule on the motion.