SF police video shows DWI arrest of Rep. Louis - Albuquerque Journal

SF police video shows DWI arrest of Rep. Louis

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Police videos released Wednesday depict State Rep. Georgene Louis complaining repeatedly about the cold, refusing to remove her glasses for one test, failing to follow directions on another and initially refusing a voluntary breathalyzer test before she was arrested late Sunday on an aggravated drunken driving charge.

Shortly after her arrest, she agreed to be tested after being read the New Mexico Implied Consent law. The law requires a subject to submit to being tested or risk losing their license for one year and facing a greater sentence if convicted.

Two separate tests showed .17 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, or just over twice the presumed level of intoxication of .08, according to a criminal complaint.

An aggravated drunken driving charge can be filed when a suspect’s blood alcohol content is 0.16 or higher. Louis was also charged with speeding, and failure to produce registration and proof of insurance, the complaint states.

Louis, 44, pleaded not guilty early Monday in a video appearance from the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Center. She is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing March 16 in Santa Fe Municipal Court.

After her arrest, near a wall sign at the police station that reads “Don’t Drink and Drive,” police advise Louis that she has 10 days to request a hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division to prevent her license revocation.

The video later shows Rep. Ryan Lane arriving at the station and speaking with police. “Georgene called me,” Lane says. “She says she needs some legal counsel.” Officers tell him she is not being questioned and explain the booking process to him.

Louis voted remotely on House bills on Wednesday, but did not participate in debate.

Louis was stopped by Santa Fe police just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday after she was clocked traveling 62 mph in a 45 mph zone on St. Francis Drive.

On the police lapel video, the officer tells Louis he stopped her for speeding, which she admits. “I had to make a U-turn and really nail the gas to catch up with you,” he says.

“Sorry, I was in a hurry to get home,” she says. “What’s going on?” the officer inquires. “I’m tired,” Louis responds.

“I smell something similar to alcoholic beverages,” the officer says.

Louis tells the officer she is coming from a halftime (Super Bowl) party at a friend’s home and consumed two glasses of beer. Later, she says she had “twoish” total drinks, including vodka and Seven-Up. Eventually, she says she had three drinks, although she stressed that she had also eaten.

“I haven’t had much sleep,” Louis says. “I’m a legislator, we haven’t had much sleep.” She pulls out her legislative license plate to show the officer.

“To me, you are just another citizen,” the officer responds, to which she agrees.

Before asking Louis to perform Horizontal Gaze tests, the male officer asks her to remove her glasses and she repeatedly declines, telling him and a female officer that “I see better with my glasses.”

Both officers tell her it’s not a vision test as Louis repeatedly refuses to remove her glasses. “I don’t feel comfortable taking off my glasses, I’m sorry,” she says. “Do me a favor ma’am, cooperate with me,” the male officer responds.

After Louis refuses numerous requests to remove her glasses, the officers allow her to keep them on. She is asked several times to keep her head still during the test.

During Nine Step Walk and One Leg Stand tests, Louis repeatedly complains about the cold, although she had put on a down coat at the officer’s suggestion. “I’m crazy cold,” she says. “It’s 36 degrees out here,” she repeats numerous times as she shows the officer her watch indicating the temperature. She hops up and down, and is asked repeatedly to remove her hands from her pockets for the test.

In some of the video, it’s difficult to see Louis’ feet as she performs the tests.

“It’s cold, it’s very cold,” Louis tells the officers.

“You said that many times,” the male officer says. “You are making this a longer process,” the female officer says.

“It’s crazy cold, I want to get home … I’ve been working all day long and I’m tired,” Louis says.

“It’s 36 degrees outside,” Louis proclaims again, looking at her wristwatch to get the temperature. The male officer offers to get some gloves for her, but she says she has some.

After the first test, Louis exclaims, “I did it,” but the male officer says there are two more tests. “Oh, my God,” she responds.

The male officer demonstrates a test for Louis. “I tried to do it, but you keep telling me to stop,” Louis complains. “Even though it’s 34 degrees outside, you are making me take the test.”

In a statement released Monday by attorney Kitren Fischer, Louis took responsibility for the incident.

“I am sorry and I deeply regret my lapse in judgment,” Louis said. “I know I let so many people down. I am accepting responsibility for my mistake.”

“I am prioritizing my health, and I will work hard to regain the trust of my constituents, my community and my family.”

 

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