Friday, March 10, 2006

APD Cop Accused of DWI

By T.J. Wilham, Journal Staff Writer

An off-duty Albuquerque police officer was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after police say he wrecked his take-home patrol car and got his brother to claim responsibility.
When other officers found the wrecked car in Northeast Albuquerque early Thursday morning, officer Brandon Wilcox's younger brother, Bryan, was in the driver's seat, according to a police report.
Bryan Wilcox, 19, claimed he had stolen his brother's police car to pull a prank on some friends at a party.
Police say they believe Brandon Wilcox had called his brother after the crash and got him to take him home. Bryan Wilcox then went back to the wrecked police car and said he was driving it.
Officers went to Brandon Wilcox's home, where it took them 10 to 15 minutes to get him out of bed.
Wilcox, 25, performed "poorly" on a series of field sobriety tests, and his blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, according to court records. He was booked into the West Side jail on a charge of aggravated DWI.
Police said Wilcox earlier went to a bar, had made it home but then went out again before the crash occurred.
"I am extremely disappointed," Police Chief Ray Schultz said Thursday. "This shows that DWI is a problem that plagues this entire community including law enforcement."
Schultz has placed Wilcox on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Additional charges against both brothers could be filed, police said.
Wilcox, a patrolman and a four-year member of the department, didn't return phone calls Thursday.
Schultz said he has "zero tolerance" for DWI and pointed out that he has fired every officer that has been arrested for drunken driving under his command. He would not say what action would be taken against Wilcox.
"We will do what we have to do," Schultz said. "I think everyone knows how I feel about DWI."
According to police reports and court records:
Police were called about 1 a.m. to the crash site in the 5500 block of Comanche NE after Wilcox's brother called 911 and reported that he had wrecked his brother's police car.
He said his brother didn't know that he had the car, had been drinking elsewhere and was at his house passed out.
The car had hit a curb, spun across Comanche, hit another curb and ended up off the roadway. The squad car had minor damage.
Police were suspicious of Bryan Wilcox's story and say he eventually admitted he wasn't the driver.
Officers went to Brandon Wilcox's home a few blocks from the wreck, but neither his girlfriend nor police could wake Wilcox, and paramedics were called.
Ten to 15 minutes later, before the paramedics arrived, Wilcox woke up. He had problems standing, had to be held up by other officers, had slurred speech, a "strong odor of alcohol on his breath" and stumbled as he made his way out of the home.
Wilcox was released to a police sergeant after being booked into the jail.
That sergeant drove Wilcox home, where he took possession of Wilcox's duty weapon, shotgun and badge.

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