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NYPD officer arrested for drunk driving -- in his squad car

Many New Yorkers were undoubtedly left scratching their heads earlier this week after reading a rather unbelievable story concerning a DUI arrest, an on-duty police officer and a crashed squad car.

According to reports, Officer Christopher M., 31, attended a fundraiser in East New York on early Monday evening for the four daughters of a fellow officer who was tragically killed in the line of duty. At the time, he was off-duty and dressed in street clothes.

Several hours later, Christopher M. reported to work at the 75th Precinct station house for the start of the midnight shift.

Sources indicate that around 3 a.m., Officer Christopher M. came back to the fundraiser during his meal break and stayed for roughly an hour before getting behind the wheel of his squad car to drive back to the station house.

Only a few blocks into the drive, however, he lost control of the squad car in an intersection and crashed into a utility pole that toppled onto a parked car.

"I heard a loud bang and looked out the window," said one witness. "He got out of the car. He took off his jacket and made a phone call."

The owner of the car that the pole fell onto also made a phone call -- to 911 -- and officers soon responded to the scene.

Officer Christopher M. was eventually placed under arrest and charged with one count each of driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test.

There is currently some dispute as to whether Officer Christopher M. was alone in the squad car at the time of the crash. Specifically, investigators are currently reviewing surveillance footage from two cameras to determine whether someone -- perhaps a fellow officer -- fled from the accident scene.

Officer Christopher M., a five-year veteran, is currently suspended without pay. Interestingly, a lieutenant and sergeant in the 75th Precinct were also placed on modified duty due to "supervisory issues arising from" the DUI arrest. An Internal Affairs investigation into these purported issues is currently underway.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

Being arrested for DWI/DUI can have a serious impact on your life in a number of ways and result in various penalties. In fact, many of these penalties are much more serious than the mere license suspension or revocation.

When faced with this scenario, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.

Sources:

The New York Times, "Brooklyn police officer is accused of driving patrol car while drunk" Feb. 28, 2012

The New York Daily News, "On-duty NYPD cop nabbed in drunken-driving smashup" Feb. 28, 2012

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