Trooper disciplined in incident involving lawmaker
Saturday, November 5th 2005, 12:06 pm
By: News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Department of Public Safety disciplined a state trooper for not investigating whether alcohol was involved in a Labor Day weekend accident in which a state senator's truck ended up in a ditch.
DPS Commissioner Kevin Ward also confirmed to the Tulsa World that Trooper Jamie Futral gave state Sen. Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo, a ride home after Futral heard a police officer's radio call about the incident.
``Yes, he did take him home,'' Ward said. ``I can't say that it's common practice. It all depends on the facts.''
Ward declined to disclose the level of administrative discipline taken against Futral. He said it falls below the final disciplinary actions that are public records _ loss of pay, suspension, demotion or termination.
Futral, who has been a trooper about four years, was informed of the disciplinary action on Friday. Ward said the trooper has no other incidents on his record.
Attempts to reach Futral and Rabon for comment were unsuccessful.
The probe was initiated by a complaint that Futral improperly intruded into the situation after hearing a local officer's radio call and didn't take proper action regarding the incident.
``We didn't feel like he improperly inserted himself into that because a call had come out and the officer that arrived hadn't had any training and was trying to get ahold of someone from his station to help and wasn't able to get ahold of anybody,'' Ward said.
Ward said where Futral ran into trouble was in not ascertaining whether alcohol was involved in the incident, as had been alleged.
``What we found was that the trooper didn't do everything he should have in regards to the facts there,'' Ward said. ``We couldn't make a determination of whether there was alcohol involved because there wasn't proper follow-through or query into anything further. He (Futral) didn't really make a determination.''
However, Ward said Futral's options were limited as to possible charges because he did not see the senator driving and the truck was stuck in a ditch. He said that would preclude charges of driving under the influence or being in actual physical control of a vehicle. At most, he said, there could have been a charge of public intoxication, had Futral determined that alcohol was involved.
``I think when you put all those factors into it, I think that's when the trooper said, 'Look, I don't have a DUI, he's a half block away, I'm just going to take him home,' `` Ward said.