Officer charged with DWI in wreck with school bus

April 25, 2011 7:57:12 PM PDT
A Houston police sergeant has been charged with driving while intoxicated in connection with an accident involving a school bus earlier this month.

From SkyEye 13 HD you could see the severity of the crash on April 13. Police say Sergeant Ruben Trejo, 50, was off-duty in his personal vehicle on his way into work when he collided with a private school bus at the intersection of Harrisburg and 79th Street. The officer was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital via ambulance with non life-threatening injuries.

The 54-year-old female bus driver, Teresa Argueta, was not injured. On that day, Argueta told Eyewitness News that she saw open containers in the sergeant's car.

"He smelled drunk. He got beer and wine open in the trunk," Argueta said on April 13.

But police investigators on the scene instead cited Argueta, saying she failed to yield. At the time, they also defended the sergeant against accusations of drunk driving.

"We have full confidence in the fact that there would not be any substances of concern found on the sergeant," said HPD Captain Robert Manzo on the day of the crash.

Now, Argueta says she is surprised.

"I can't believe he's going to work with alcohol?" she told us.

And now the sergeant has been charged with a DWI. Argueta's son says he also remembers that day.

"Open container of beer. Yea, and you can smell it in the car," said Aaron Argueta.

Argueta says his mom is still shaken up by the crash, an accident that left a strong impression in this neighborhood.

"I feel sad for him and his family. It's a bad decision if he did drink," said Javier Perez.

Perez runs a car repair shop on Harrisburg, next to where the accident happened. He says the community needs responsible police officers.

"We really need good officers because of the crime rate in this area, and they cleaned up the area a lot," Perez said.

Aaron Argueta says officers still need to be law abiding.

"If he's wrong, he should be charged. Just because he's an officer doesn't mean he's above the law," he said.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that Trejo had a blood alcohol content of 0.20. Trejo's supervisor declined on Monday an on-camera interview to clarify his earlier statements, citing the pending internal affairs investigation.

Houston police says the 25-year HPD veteran was suspended with pay on April 22.

Trejo turned himself in on Monday and posted a $500 bond. Our attempts to contact Trejo were not unsuccessful, but we've learned his first court appearance has been scheduled for May 2.

Meanwhile, Argueta hopes her traffic ticket will be dismissed when she goes to court late next month.


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