Ex-SAPD officer had near-lethal BAC while driving with kids in car, judge says

Gena Rodriguez, 40, sentenced to 90 days in jail

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter, Josh Saunders - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - A former San Antonio Police Department officer who pleaded guilty to felony DWI earlier this year had a near-lethal blood alcohol level at the time of her 2017 crash, a judge revealed during sentencing on Wednesday.

Gena Rodriguez, 40, will serve 90 days in jail and five years probation and must seek treatment for alcoholism after admitting to making "belligerent" and "dangerous" choices while driving off duty with three of her children in the car when she caused a chain reaction crash in April 2017.

A violation of her probation could lead to a two-year prison sentence, the prosecutor assigned to Rodriguez's case said after sentencing Wednesday morning.

"You still need to take responsibility for your actions, because you could have killed somebody out there. Especially being a police officer, you know right and wrong," Judge Frank Castro said.

Castro, who proceeded with sentencing despite an objection from Rodriguez's attorney, noted that Rodriguez had a blood alcohol content of .30 at the time of the crash along Loop 1604 at Culebra Road.

A BAC of .40 is widely accepted as a lethal dose of alcohol, while functions of the body can stop in some people in levels even below that.

Rodriguez, who separated from SAPD two months after causing the wreck, gave a brief apology to one of the victims, before being led out of court in handcuffs.

"For what I lost, doesn't make up for it, it's not equal, substantially I lost a lot more," said Mary McClairty, who said back injuries she suffered during the crash forced her to shut down her event-planning business.

Rodriguez's attorney adamantly opposed moving forward with the hearing, claiming that he had not been given proper notice about his client being denied entry into the Bexar County Veterans Treatment Court.

The prosecutor told Castro that Rodriguez was denied admittance into the court earlier this month because there was no clear cut nexus between her military service and her alcohol use.

'I'm SAPD, too. Shut up. I don't give a (expletive).'

Incident reports from the 2017 crash indicate that Rodriguez was combative at the scene, had a strong odor of intoxicants on her breath, argued with emergency medical services personnel and was uncooperative and disrespectful to officers, including a supervisor assigned to her own substation.

"Stop being an (expletive). I'm SAPD, too. Shut up. I don't give a (expletive)," Rodriguez said to the officer conducting her field sobriety test, according to SAPD reports.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to a single count of felony DWI with a child under 15 in the vehicle in late January.

"Sir, I do realize my mistakes that I have done. That was a really bad mistake and judgment call on my behalf," Rodriguez told Castro before she was sentenced.

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