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State worker found passed out in vehicle

SANTA FE – A state worker was arrested this afternoon in Santa Fe County when she was found passed out at the wheel of a state vehicle with a bottle of vodka and prescription pills, authorities said.

Courtney Upshall, 36, was arrested and booked on DWI and open container charges, said Major Ken Johnson of the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Upshall worked for the State Parks Division of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, he said.

The department looked into the incident and “as a result she was terminated effective at 5 p.m. Wednesday,” said department communications director Jim Winchester.

“She (Upshall) was on state time and she was supposed to be performing her state functions,” he said, when asked what she might have been doing in north Santa Fe County.

Upshall is listed on the LinkedIn website as a federal grants coordinator and has been with State Parks since January. She previously worked for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the website said. Winchester confirmed that Upshall had been on a standard probationary period since her hire in January.

Shortly after noon on Wednesday, deputies responded to County Road 119 N, near Nambé, on a report of a traffic accident. When they arrived, they found “a female pulled over on the side of the road passed out,” Johnson said.


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“She was found to be highly intoxicated,” he added. A pint of vodka and the pills were found in her pickup, which had State Parks decals, he said, adding, “I’m sure a part of it (the pint) was consumed.”

Deputies performed standard roadside sobriety tests, which Upshall failed, according to Johnson. She was taken to a Santa Fe hospital for a blood draw to determine her blood-alcohol level.

Information on Upshall’s bond and other jail booking information was not immediately available.