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Sheriff: High-ranking sheriff's deputy crashes truck after drinking, department changing policies

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CLINTON - A high-ranking East Feliciana sheriff's deputy ran off the road and crashed into a ditch after drinking at a business, and now policies in East Feliciana Parish are changing.

The policy change comes after the WBRZ Investigative Unit began asking questions about the wreck this week. Sheriff Jeff Travis said his office immediately launched an investigation following WBRZ's inquiry. They interviewed an employee of the establishment, and deputies and spoke to a witness. None could confirm that the deputy, Kevin Garig, was intoxicated at the time. However, they did confirm that he was drinking.

"We were told he was at a restaurant and he had a few drinks," Travis said.

Travis said on May 22, a passerby called 911 to report the wreck.

Monday, the WBRZ Investigative Unit requested the 911 call from East Feliciana Parish. Two days later, dispatch told us no calls existed. The problem is the sheriff's office had already listened to it, and we responded to them giving them the date, time, and file number attached to the phone call. That's when East Feliciana Dispatch found it.

"The CAD call served as a notification that the incident happened, but there are many other incidents like it where a report is not written," Travis said. "As we talked about protocols, part of the new protocol in addition to notifying a supervisor, if it's something that we wouldn't write a report on, we will put the protocol in if an employee is involved."

The night the incident occurred, a deputy was dispatched to the crash which required Kevin Garig's vehicle to be towed out of a ditch. The Sheriff's office said Garig was out with another deputy who showed up after the wreck. Despite two deputies being on the scene, nothing was written down that night about the incident, which is why Travis said things are changing.

"From here on out if there's any call that one of our deputies is summoned to that an East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's employee is involved in any way, it will be a mandatory requirement for that deputy to call a supervisor even if they are home at night and wake them up to determine on a higher level what is the appropriate action," Travis said.

It's the type of action some inside the department want. Some people have gone as far as to follow the deputy when he's off the clock and going out.

"You asked the other day when we were talking and brought this to our attention, 'do we have an issue with an employee drinking and getting behind the wheel?'" Travis said. "The answer is yes. There is a legal limit as to whether someone has broken the law, but we are always concerned about them or anyone else getting behind the wheel when drinking."

Travis said despite what happened, they could not prove Garig was ever over the legal limit and the lack of notification and reports that were written were concerning enough for him to tighten up policies.

Garig was off duty when this happened.


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