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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Two Law Enforcement Officials Arrested For Driving Drunk

Prosecutor, deputy among 25 charged with DWI
The Galveston Daily News by Chris Paschenko - January 1, 2011

GALVESTON, TX — A Galveston County assistant district attorney and a sheriff’s deputy were among 25 people charged with driving while intoxicated, authorities said Friday. Prosecutor Lester Blizzard, 50, and deputy Tino Ramirez, 43, were booked on the charges stemming from Thursday night arrests, sheriff’s office spokesman Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said. Their bonds on the misdemeanor charges were set at $5,000 each. Their arrests followed traffic stops by state troopers at 51st Street and Harborside Drive in Galveston, Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, said. Blizzard was arrested at 10:16 p.m. State troopers accused Blizzard of speeding and showing signs of intoxication, Mange said. “He refused a breath test, and a search warrant was done to take blood because it’s no-refusal week,” Mange said. Ramirez was arrested an hour earlier at the same location under the same circumstances, Mange said and sheriff’s office records reveal. “He did consent to a blood draw,” Mange said. District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk, whose term in office ends on Jan. 1, said he suspended Blizzard without pay because of the incident. New District Attorney Jack Roady takes office at midnight Saturday morning. At least 25 people were booked on charges of driving while intoxicated since midnight Wednesday through Friday morning, Tuttoilmondo said. Others arrested in the roundup included a mailman in uniform and a Houston Independent School District principal, Tuttoilmondo said. “The bulk of the arrests were from the Department of Public Safety,” Tuttoilmondo said. “We don’t have what their intoxication levels were and won’t for several weeks,” Mange said. Blizzard in October successfully prosecuted a man, who received two life sentences for a drunken-driving crash in 2009 that killed two teenage girls. Ramirez is a court bailiff at the Justice Center, Tuttoilmondo said. An attempt to reach Blizzard for comment was unsuccessful, after finding no public telephone listing for him. A message left for Ramirez wasn’t immediately returned. Ramirez was placed on administrative duty, pending completion of an internal investigation by the sheriff’s office, Tuttoilmondo said. Galveston police in conjunction with state troopers are operating a no-refusal program this holiday weekend, in which people arrested under suspicion of drunken driving could be forced by court order to submit to an alcohol test. The no-refusal program isn’t countywide, but deputies could use the program if needed, Tuttoilmondo said.

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