Allegations in court docket data give a snapshot of a wobbly commissioner at a Wichita County facility whose actions alarmed somebody sufficient to name the cops to report a attainable drunk driver.
Commissioner Jeff Watts hit a submit when he pulled as much as a county constructing north of Electra on State Freeway 25 the night of Feb. 18, in response to allegations in court docket paperwork.
He stumbled getting out of his pickup and tripped and fell strolling as much as the Precinct 4 annex constructing to let in a cleansing crew from a Wichita Falls enterprise, in response to allegations in court docket paperwork. A witness known as the Electra police.
About 7 p.m., a short while after Watts left the precinct constructing, he was in a single-vehicle, rollover accident on SH 25 south of Electra, in response to court docket data.
He was subsequently arrested on a first-offense DWI cost, court docket filings present.
The county has a drug and alcohol coverage for a drug-free office in its personnel coverage guide. However it might don’t have any bearing on or penalties for Watts, who lives in Iowa Park and serves the Electra space.
“The county coverage guide typically applies to workers and never elected officers,” Wichita County Decide Woody Gossom stated.
Elected officers are topic to Texas legal guidelines and assessment by the Texas Ethics Fee and, within the case of judicial officeholders, the State Fee on Judicial Conduct, Gossom stated.
“It ought to be famous that the incident occurred after regular enterprise hours and didn’t contain a county car,” Gossom stated.
Watts’ legal professional, Ben Hoover of Wichita Falls, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The county’s drug and alcohol coverage states: “The illegal manufacturing, distributing, possessing, or use of a managed substance on County premises, in County autos, or whereas on obligation is prohibited.”
The coverage goes on to say that any employee violating it’s topic to disciplinary motion, together with to getting fired.
The coverage from the guide — which typically doesn’t apply to elected officers — goes on to stipulate guidelines for drug testing earlier than and after employment.
“Workers concerned in accidents attributable to habits of ‘being beneath the affect of a drug’ . . . can even be examined,” in response to the coverage.
Amongst prohibited conduct outlined by the coverage is that, “No worker will report for obligation or stay on obligation whereas having an alcohol focus larger than .00.”
An individual in Texas is taken into account legally intoxicated and could also be charged with a DWI if he has a blood or breath alcohol content material of .08 or increased.
The trooper who responded to the accident believes Watts was over the authorized restrict, in response to allegations in court docket data.
The county’s coverage specifies that employees in all county positions are topic to “cheap suspicion testing.”
What’s the foundation for such testing?
Direct remark, a sample of habits, info from a dependable supply or involvement in a “critical accident,” in response to the coverage.
Watts suffered minor accidents within the rollover accident. Nobody else was injured.
After Watts’ wreck, officers discovered a 24-ounce Bud Mild Platinum and a pitcher smelling of beer in his pickup, in response to allegations in a report written by a Texas Division of Public Security trooper.
The county’s drug and alcohol coverage states: “No worker will function any motorized vehicle whereas the driving force possesses alcohol except the alcohol is manifested and transported as a part of a cargo.”
The coverage additionally requires the county to offer any worker partaking in prohibited conduct with the contact info of certified substance abuse professionals.
After Watts’ wreck, he launched an announcement during which he admitted to consuming and driving.
He additionally requested for forgiveness and promised within the assertion to by no means drink and drive once more, saying he “made a critical error in judgement.”
Watts stated in an earlier assertion that he hit an icy patch on the highway and thanked first-responders and Electra Memorial Hospital workers members for his or her assist.
He’s scheduled for arraignment on the DWI cost June 28 in County Courtroom at Legislation No. 2.
Watts remained free from Wichita County Jail Thursday on a $1,500 bond, in response to on-line jail data.
The category B misdemeanor is punishable by as much as 180 days in jail, a high quality as much as $2,000 and the lack of a driver’s license for as much as a yr.
Gossom has stated that Watts is legally allowed to proceed holding workplace if he’s convicted of the DWI.
Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Occasions File Information, covers schooling, courts, breaking information, politics and extra. Contact Trish with information ideas at email@example.com. Her Twitter deal with is @Trishapedia.