Records: Pct. 2 deputies proposed cavity search on teen, ordered warrantless blood draw

Teen not charged in connection to Feb. 13 crash, despite blood draw

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Josh Saunders - Photojournalist

LEON VALLEY, Texas - A 19-year-old San Antonio woman involved in a car crash earlier this year had her blood drawn without the arresting law enforcement agency first obtaining a search warrant and was nearly subjected to a cavity search, a sworn affidavit and EMS records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders show.

The driver, identified as Madison Huizar, was taken into custody Feb. 13 by Bexar County Precinct 2 deputies following her involvement in a two-vehicle crash in the intersection of Bandera Road and Timco West, inside Leon Valley city limits.

"You want to get original? I am the constable."

Huizar's arrest came moments after a heated confrontation between several Precinct 2 personnel, including Constable Michelle Barrientes-Vela, and a Leon Valley police corporal, who handled the crash scene for more than a half-hour and whose body-worn camera captured footage of the incident.

"Give me a second here. The thing is that the scene belonged to him. Actually, he was first officer on the scene. We have a problem," Barrientes-Vela is heard saying on the recording, referring to her Chief Deputy Anthony Castillo.

WEB EXTRA: Video shows confrontation between Leon Valley, Pct. 2 Constables

The corporal was in the process of citing Huizar for driving without a valid license, while Castillo believed he smelled marijuana coming from Huizar and her vehicle, according to the footage and a Leon Valley police incident report.

The smell was later determined to be from the airbags of Huizar's vehicle being deployed, according to Leon Valley records.

After the corporal asked several times if Precinct 2 was going to take over the accident scene, Barrientes-Vela responded, "You want to get original? I am the constable."

A deputy is seen in the footage rummaging through a purse belonging to Huizar, who was then arrested.

The footage then shows the corporal attempt to hand over his notes from the crash, before placing them at the feet of deputies on scene.

The corporal said he tried to hand over his notes but then left them on the ground after Barrientes-Vela ordered her deputies not to take the notes.

Records show Huizar was later taken to University Hospital, accompanied by a deputy, who told a nurse the constable had ordered that she be taken to a hospital.

Huizar's blood was then drawn by a nurse, according to records of the incident.

"Prior to my blood being drawn no officer read any paperwork to me or advised me of my rights," according to a sworn affidavit signed by Huizar on Feb. 25.

"A blood draw or a breath test for that matter, is not something that is automatically authorized," said Geary Reamey, a constitutional law expert and professor at St. Mary's University School of Law.

"Certainly that should have been done," said Reamey when asked if Precinct 2 should have obtained a warrant before requesting the blood draw.

Bexar County District Clerk records show no warrant was obtained to draw Huizar's blood.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from being subjected to illegal searches and seizures.

READ THE SWORN AFFIDAVIT

Leon Valley Fire Department records from the crash indicate that a Precinct 2 deputy approached a paramedic prior to Huizar being taken to the hospital and asked paramedics if they could conduct a cavity search on Huizar to search for contraband.

EMS personnel told the deputy they would not take part in such a search. The paramedic, who rode in the ambulance with Huizar and a deputy, was also instructed by a coworker not to do a cavity search if asked while en route to the hospital.

Leon Valley police also provided the Defenders photos taken inside Huizar's vehicle after it was towed from the scene.

The photos do not appear to show marijuana and instead appear to show what was described by police as "tobacco, which had a very sweet odor."

In all, at least six Leon Valley police officers and firefighters said that Huizar did not appear to be under the influence of any drug and that there was no presence of marijuana in her vehicle, according to records.

Additionally, Leon Valley's fire chief said Precinct 2 deputies showed up at the city's fire station after the crash and tried to get voluntary statements from firefighters regarding the possible presence of marijuana, according to a statement from the chief.

The statement said the deputies appeared to be attempting to influence how firefighters would word their statements.

Records show the deputies returned a second time, attempting to gather more statements and then after being asked to leave, Castillo called the chief asking why statements were not provided.

Castillo was then told Precinct 2 would need to get a subpoena if the agency wanted additional information.

Barrientes-Vela did not agree to be interviewed for this story.

She instead responded via email:

Collier Dillon,

I do not have an affidavit on file by Huizar at my Office. I do not know what you are speaking of. Huizar informed the Captain of my office that Leon Valley Police Department called her and told her to make a complaint towards my Deputy, informing her that she was mistreated. My Office handles all complaints against Deputies within my Office (Bexar County Constable Office Pct. 2)  I did request the body camera video from a Leon Valley Officer which clearly show (sic) the Officer interfering with the body camera which an investigation is currently being conducted by my Office with the same case number. Sir we are aware of the procedures on warrants. The female in questioned (sic) was not subject to any blood drawn based on a warrant from any one of my Deputies. Thank you for bringing awareness to me concerning a sworn affidavit from Huizar on file which I’ll forward over to my Internal Affairs to be added to the said case investigation. A Blotter was sent to you from beginning to end on what transpired at the crash case (redacted), which involved a vehicle that was emitting the smell of marijuana and to which she was arrest (sic) for a SAPD Warrant.

Barrientes-Vela called KSAT 12 on Wednesday, hours before the story aired, disputing the merits of the Defenders investigation.

"There hasn't been any open records requests for my office, for any reports from that incident," said Barrientes-Vela.

However, Barrientes-Vela personally emailed a nine-paragraph blotter entry from the crash on Feb. 22, following a formal records request from the Defenders submitted the same day asking for the crash report and any witness statements.

The initial request remains pending, according to the county's open records portal, but Precinct 2 has not provided any additional records from the crash.

Huizar has not been criminally charged in connection to the crash and was instead booked on an unrelated San Antonio Municipal Court warrant after being at the hospital around 11 hours, according to records.

Court records show Huizar was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in March 2018 and remains out on bond in that unrelated case.

Huizar did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the Defenders.

Precinct 2's policy and procedure manual requires deputies to "conduct themselves in a manner that will foster the greatest harmony and cooperation" with other city, county, state and federal employees.

A University Hospital spokeswoman declined to comment on the blood draw incident, citing federal patient privacy laws.

The spokeswoman said via email that the hospital's policy, "is consistent with Texas law which states that legal blood draws require a warrant or express consent by the patient."

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