Drunken Deputy Wrecks Neighborhood, Gets Paid Vacation

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Spencer Powers, a sheriff’s Deputy from Meridian, Idaho, “hit a parked car, a fence, a mailbox and a tree with his car” early last Sunday morning while under the influence of alcohol and sleeping pills, reports the Idaho Statesman.

Actually, the damage wrought by Powers was much more extensive. A report by Boise’s NBC affiliate KTVB documents the swath of destruction Powers left in his wake — destroyed mailboxes, uprooted trees, severe damage to several vehicles.

After Powers came to a stop, he told a local resident that he was out looking for more beer. He also made it clear that he had no idea where he was. Rather than being arrested on the scene, Powers — who was driving his own automobile — was permitted to go to the local hospital. The police report on the incident doesn’t mention whether a breath or blood test was performed on the intoxicated deputy.

It’s not uncommon for people suspected of DUI who are in an accident to be taken to the hospital without being placed under arrest, assuming a felony isn’t involved. It is unusual for officials to delay filing charges in such cases for several days: As of August 13 — five days after the incident — charges have yet to be filed against Powers.

And of course, it’s doubtful that anybody other than a law enforcement officer would be granted a paid vacation — or, to use the official expression, “administrative leave” — after tearing apart a neighborhood and endangering several lives as a result of driving while intoxicated.

(Thanks to LRC reader Scott Watson for the tip.)

6:19 pm on August 13, 2009