Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputy charged with drunken driving

This article originally appeared in the Friday Oct. 18, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.

Moments before a state trooper arrested him at 2:31 a.m. Saturday, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Inv. Jesse Sandlin made a phone call.

Sandlin, who was off-duty, had been drinking alcohol, according to the criminal complaint against him. He dialed the wrong number.

20191016 JesseSandlin“Jesse Sandlin called me thinking he was calling the chief deputy,” said Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra, adding that Sandlin kept calling him chief. “I told him: ‘You got the sheriff. And he advised me that he was being arrested for DWI.’”

Sandlin put the state trooper on the phone.

“And I told the trooper: ‘Do your job,’” Guerra said.

The state trooper arrested Sandlin, 33, of Alamo on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Sandlin, who couldn’t be reached for comment.

Sandlin graduated from the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council police academy in March 2008, according to Texas Commission on Law Enforcement records. After four years with the Alamo Police Department, he joined the Sheriff’s Office in July 2013.

The Sheriff’s Office assigned Sandlin to the Criminal Investigations Division in September 2017. He also coordinated an off-duty security detail for local Walmart stores.

After six years with the Sheriff’s Office, the drunken driving arrest could derail his career.

The state trooper stopped Sandlin, who was driving a black Chrysler sedan, for failing to drive in a single lane on Expressway 83.

Sandlin had slurred speech and smelled like alcohol, according to the criminal complaint against him, which added that Sandlin admitted to drinking two alcoholic beverages.

The state trooper asked Sandlin to perform a standardized field sobriety test. He failed.

Sandlin also failed a breath test, which showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.116, according to the criminal complaint. The legal limit is 0.08.

The state trooper arrested Sandlin. Driving while intoxicated is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000.

Jailers booked Sandlin at 3:18 a.m. and released him at 2:17 p.m. Saturday.

“Although these type of incidents are difficult for any law enforcement agency, I remain committed to preserving the public’s confidence and trust in the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office,” Guerra said in a statement. “We will continue to investigate any and all allegations of employee misconduct, and I will take the necessary and appropriate actions to maintain accountability and transparency to you, the citizens we serve.”

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