Officer to face open container charge after all
NEW ROADS - A police officer at the center of a questionable drunk driving investigation will face open container charges after all, according to Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres.
The sheriff said there was some confusion over the charges against Captain Mark Munson of the New Roads Police Department, who crashed his pickup March 28.
New Roads Police responded to the scene and contacted the sheriff's office to investigate since one of their own was involved in the wreck. Deputies said in an incident report that they found a partially-empty bottle of gin in Munson's truck and could smell alcohol on his breath, but claimed that nobody on duty was certified to administer a breath test. The deputies allowed Munson's wife to come get him, and drive him home.
Torres launched an internal investigation after the incident, and suspended three deputies without pay. Munson was suspended indefinitely, and charged with failure to maintain control and having an open container.
Torres told News 2 that after announcing the charges and directing a deputy to issue them, he was told they couldn't charge Munson with having an open container because the bottle of gin had a lid on it. Deputies also did not seize the bottle to test its contents for alcohol.
However, Torres said after a discussion with the mayor of New Roads he found that their statute for open containers does pertain to bottles that have had their seal broken or are missing part of their contents. As a result, he said Munson will still face charges for violating the ordinance.
Torres said Munson had already paid his ticket for failure to maintain control. Munson also has to pay for damages he caused during the crash, take a driver safety course and enroll in counseling before he can come back to work at the police department.