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          Front Page




Police Say APS Official Vigil Wanted a 'Break' on DWI

By Russell Contreras
Journal Staff Writer
    Albuquerque Public Schools' chief business officer asked for a "break" and dropped names "in an attempt to threaten and intimidate officers" during his aggravated DWI arrest, a sergeant's report said.
    And "at no time did (Michael J. Vigil) ever submit to a breath/alcohol test," the report said.
    Vigil, 47, was arrested at 1:25 a.m. Saturday after a police officer saw his car swerving on Interstate 25 north of the Big-I, said a complaint filed in Metro Court.
    The officer stopped the 15-year APS veteran and smelled "a strong odor of alcoholic beverage" coming from his vehicle, the complaint said.
    Vigil told police he'd had one beer and one mixed drink before getting behind the wheel, the complaint said.
    He was booked into jail on aggravated DWI and careless driving charges after refusing to take a breath test.
    He later told KOAT-TV that although he initially refused the test, he took one later and passed.
    According to a supplemental report by Sgt. Pat Apodaca, Vigil told police "he needed to call 'his' chief of police, (APS School Police Director) Gil Lovato."
    Vigil also asked to speak to acting-APD chief Joe Bowdich and District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, the report said.
    "I believe Michael kept name dropping in an attempt to threaten and intimidate officers," Apodaca wrote.
    He added that Vigil asked an officer for "a break."
    Apodaca said based on his 22 years of experience in law enforcement, "Michael appeared to be intoxicated."
    Vigil could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
    Board member Robert Lucero continued Wednesday to call on Vigil to step down.
    Vigil is in charge of putting together the district's budget, which must be sent to the state later this spring.
    Vigil was put on paid administrative leave by Superintendent Elizabeth Everitt on Monday.
    Vigil's contract, which expires in June 2006, says it can be terminated by the superintendent for "just cause."
    During the APS board meeting Wednesday, members did not bring up Vigil's name, but board president Paula Maes thanked APS staff for handling "a difficult week."
    Afterward, Everitt said the district is investigating the APD reports, but she declined to discuss the matter further.