3 SAPD officers suspended after drunk woman was hit, killed by train

Documents say officers should not have left woman on roadside

By Nicole Perez - Executive Producer

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Police Department suspended three officers it said made contact with a woman who was so drunk she was unresponsive, but left her only to get a call later that she had been hit and killed by a train.

Officers Michael Pullen, Steven Garcia and Sarah Carrasco received suspensions for the Oct. 8 incident. Documents obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders said the officers failed "to protect the life of an individual who was intoxicated to the point of being unresponsive. Despite observing obvious signs of the individual's intoxicated state, (the officers) failed to assist her and left her at the location (4429 Walzem Rd.). Officers were later dispatched a short distance away (4500 Walzem Rd.), in which the same individual had been struck and killed by a train."

A police report of the train accident says the train engineers "saw a male walking across the crossing and then saw (the victim) sitting on the rail with her head in her lap." The engineers said they "blew the air horn and (the victim) did not move." The engineers could not stop the train before it hit the woman, causing her to hit her head on the pavement.

The woman, later identified as Sierra Barber, died at a hospital. She was 23 years old.

The report makes no mention that the three officers made contact with Barber prior to the train accident. Carrasco was accused of "N-Coding" that call -- a violation because "she had a duty to generate a written report" for it, the document said.

Carrasco received the heaviest suspension of 90 days without pay. She initially faced an indefinite suspension, which is the equivalent of being fired. Carrasco also signed a "last chance agreement," which requires her to be placed on Administrative Duty upon her return June 14. Chief William McManus can also order her to attend additional training, classes or programs. He can also place duty restrictions on Carrasco. If she violates the terms of the suspension, Carrasco faces a contemplated indefinite suspension.

Garcia received a 20-day suspension without pay. Five of those suspended days are being held in abeyance, meaning Garcia served 15-days and won't have to serve the other five days unless he has "an allegation of similar misconduct" within the year.

Pullen received an 8-day suspension with pay. Five of those suspended days are being held in abeyance.

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