Iteam: PCPSO told state trooper they would handle captain's case

POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The 9News I-team has learned a state police trooper was also at the crash site involving New Roads Police Capt. Mark Munson, an 18-year veteran of the force.

Investigators say after Capt. Munson crashed his personal truck, a deputy wrote in his report, "I noticed a 200 ml bottle of Seagram's Gin in the center console.  The bottle was about 3/4 the way empty.  After talking to Capt. Munson, I could smell a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath."

So why then was the captain not tested for possible drunk driving?

The crash happened on North Carolina Avenue in New Roads Friday night.  Because it involved a New Roads police officer, an outside agency was called to investigate, the Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office.  Tuesday, the I-team learned, a state trooper also responded to the scene.

Even though the responding sheriff's deputy suspected alcohol could be a factor, Capt. Munson was never given a breathalyzer.  The Pointe Coupee deputy said he did not perform a breathalyzer or field sobriety test because he is not certified to do so.

The deputy wrote "Because I am not DWI certified or field sobriety certified and no one on my shift is certified in either category I was unable to perform an alcohol test on Capt. Munson."

"Our job primarily is criminal.  We do some traffic but in recent years, the Carter Academy, where our deputies go to school and go to, they do not certify them in intoxilyzers," responded Pointe Coupee Sheriff Bud Torres.  "We usually have a couple of guys on the shift that are certified in this and we also have the state police right there so it's never been an issue in the past that if we needed a test run to have one done."

"So why was someone not called in this case?" asked WAFB's Kiran Chawla.

"I don't know," said Torres.

Tuesday, State Police confirmed to the I-team, a state trooper, who is certified in breathalyzers and field sobriety tests, did respond to the crash, but sources tell the I-team, a higher-up at the sheriff's office told the responding deputy to waive off the state trooper and that the sheriff's office would handle the scene.  So the trooper left and went back to patrolling.

So why was the captain not given a test? A call into Sheriff Torres Tuesday was not returned, but he did respond Monday.

"We are not going to give people preferential treatment. We are going to do our job, and when someone crosses the line to the point where it's just out of control behavior, we have to do our job," said Torres.

"There are people out there saying it's the buddy system, that's why he walked away without any charges.  Your response to that?" asked Chawla.

"No, we do not operate on a buddy system," said New Roads Police Chief Kevin McDonald.

Because of the questions raised in this case, the Louisiana State Police is investigating the matter.  In the meantime, Capt. Munson remains on leave.

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