SAN ANTONIO – Although three law enforcement officers found themselves on the other side of sobriety tests in a single night, Mothers Against Drunk Driving sees their arrests as reinforcing the anti-drunk driving message.
San Antonio police Officers Gena Rodriguez, 39, and Harold Thomaston, 46, along with Bexar County Sheriff's Deputy Sabrina Moreno, 24, were arrested on drunk-driving charges late Thursday night and Friday morning.
Thomaston and Moreno each face a misdemeanor DWI charge. Rodriguez, who allegedly rear-ended a truck while three children were in her car, including one in a child safety seat, faces a felony DWI charge.
Their arrests came less than two days after Sheriff Javier Salazar and Police Chief William McManus joined MADD at a news conference to speak out against drunk driving during Fiesta.
MADD South Texas Executive Director Jason Derscheid doesn't think the arrests take away from the anti-drunk driving message. Instead, he thinks the arrests support it.
"It just goes to show that law enforcement is out there. And the fact they held their officers accountable and arrested them as well, I think it reinforces that message," Derscheid said. "And people are going to know, if you're out there drinking and driving, law enforcement is going to get you."
Salazar and McManus echoed that silver lining view of the arrests.
"In spite of what else may have been going on, they did their job," Salazar said of the arresting officers.
"There's no exceptions. There's no covering up. They're doing their job," McManus said.
Derscheid acknowledged that the timing was unfortunate, but said it reflected something else more than it did Wednesday's news conference.
"It reflects the larger state of San Antonio and Bexar County in general," he said. "We have one of the worst drunk-driving problems in the nation."
The arrests offer an opportunity to speak out against that problem.
"The fact that they are law enforcement officers brings light to that problem and allows us to address it and get that message out there to let people know we do have a problem here in San Antonio, and we need to address it appropriately," Derscheid said. "We need people to take an Uber. We need them to designate a driver and get home safe."
Derscheid urges drivers to make plans for getting home if they're going to be out drinking.
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