Friday, January 12, 2007
State Police Officer Faces DWI Charge
By Jeff Proctor
Journal Staff Writer
An undercover State Police officer was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of drunken driving after Albuquerque authorities found him in an unmarked police vehicle with another officer.
John Lytle, 33, was charged with DWI first offense after he was arrested at 8:23 p.m. in the 800 block of Fruit NW, according to court records and police.
It's unclear whether the two officers were working at the time of the arrest, said Peter Olson, a State Police spokesman.
Lytle "was working (Wednesday) night, but whether he was on duty at that moment, we don't know yet," he said. "We're still trying to figure that out."
The two officers were in a pickup truck confirmed as an unmarked State Police vehicle in a parking lot, which Albuquerque police determined to be "suspicious behavior," said John Walsh, a police spokesman.
The APD officers made contact with Lytle and administered field sobriety tests, Walsh said. Lytle was subsequently taken into custody.
Olson declined to comment on what Lytle and the other State Police officer were doing in the parking lot.
A five-year veteran of the State Police, Lytle works in undercover investigations, Olson said. He did not know how long the State Police investigation into the matter might take. Lytle has been placed on "administrative duties," meaning he will be assigned desk work, including answering telephones, while authorities conduct an investigation into the incident, he said.
"We like to keep them working whenever possible," Olson said.
The officer who was with Lytle at the time of the arrest has also been placed on administrative duties, he said. That officer has not been named.
State Police Chief Faron Segotta issued a statement Thursday on Lytle's arrest:
"The arrest of Agent Lytle is very disappointing and will be dealt with very swiftly. I would like to reassure the citizens of New Mexico that incidents such as this illustrate the DWI problem in New Mexico and that no one is immune from it."