Trio of SAFD firefighters disciplined after alcohol-fueled arrests, records show

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist, Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

From left to right: Rudy Castillo, Brandon Griffin, David Samano.

SAN ANTONIO - Two San Antonio firefighters are attempting to win back their jobs following separate violent, drunken driving incidents, disciplinary documents released Thursday show. 

Firefighter David Samano was arrested Jan. 31 on suspicion of drunken driving and is also facing a criminal mischief charge stemming from the arrest, according to suspension records. Fire engineer Rudy Castillo, meanwhile, was arrested Dec. 30, 2018, in a separate incident on charges of driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content exceeding 0.15, and criminal mischief, according to online court records.

Samano and Castillo were issued indefinite suspensions effective April 15.

Fire engineer repeatedly rammed stranger's car; was holding beer, urinating when deputies arrived

Suspension records and preliminary information from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office state that Castillo followed a woman into a private, gated driveway in the 13200 block of Potranco Road and rammed her car several times while she was inside, forcing her vehicle into a parked trailer.

The woman told sheriff's deputies that she didn't know Castillo and is unsure why he would follow her home, according to preliminary information from the Sheriff's Office.

According to preliminary details, Castillo was seen holding a beer and urinating outside of his truck when deputies arrived.

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Deputies said Castillo "smelled strongly of alcohol" and found an open bottle of liquor in the front seat of his truck, suspension records state. Castillo caused damage exceeding $2,500 to the woman's car and was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.194, suspension documents detail. According to online records, Castillo's case is set to go to trial June 6.

Firefighter tells trooper he should pray he never needs firefighting services because he wouldn't help trooper, trooper's family

Samano was arrested Jan. 31 around 2 a.m. after a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper saw the off-duty firefighter driving erratically, failing to stay in a single lane and signal a change of lane, records state.

When the trooper pulled Samano over, the trooper smelled a "strong" odor of alcohol and saw his eyes were glossy, disciplinary documents state. Records note that the trooper attempted to subject Samano to a field sobriety test, but Samano was unable to follow directions.

When the trooper arrested Samano, placing him in a patrol vehicle, Samano snapped, telling the trooper that "he should pray he never needed (firefighter) Samano's services because (firefighter) Samano would not help him or his family," suspension paperwork states.

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Samano "became violent," and began kicking the inside of the trooper's patrol unit, hitting the front windshield and inside camera system, according to records. Suspension paperwork states that a blood draw revealed that Samano had a blood alcohol level of 0.120.
Records show he was charged with criminal mischief for causing damage to the patrol vehicle. 

Online records show Samano remains free on bond.

Samano appealed his indefinite suspension April 19 and Castillo appealed his on April 16.

Fire lieutenant gets 75-day suspension following DWI arrest

Recently filed disciplinary documents also show that San Antonio fire Lt. Brandon Griffin, arrested Jan. 30 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, signed a release and settlement with the agency, which states, in part, that he will serve a 75-day suspension for his DWI arrest, complete a rehabilitation program and attend regular counseling.

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In that incident, Griffin was arrested just after 2 a.m. after a Bexar County sheriff's sergeant spotted him driving on the wrong side of the road, according to court records. According to a blood draw search warrant, Griffin was pulled over after he was seen driving the wrong direction in the 4700 block of West Loop 1604 South.

He told a deputy conducting a field sobriety test that he had "drank two beers at the Spurs' game."

Griffin had been promoted four days earlier. 

Online court records show a pretrial conference is set June 6 in Griffin's case.

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