32-year-old Noemi Garza, a Calhoun County Sheriff’s Deputy, is headed for trial in a drunk driving case that has made headlines. And not just because Garza is a deputy charged with a DUI. Unfortunately for her, the arrest was also something of a media sensation. This is in part because Garza caused an accident and then drove away. And also because she resisted arrest in a rather unexpectedly physical way.
According to records from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, officers were dispatched shortly after midnight to the scene of a two vehicle collision. Upon arrival, officers were told by a man that his car had been struck by a driver who was unable to navigate the turn from one street onto another. But what was of even greater concern was the fact that the driver never even stopped.
According to the accident victim, the car drove on down the street, and then pulled over and parked. The occupant, a woman, got out and went into a nearby home for a few minutes before coming back out to her vehicle. When the officers approached her, she told them that she had been in an accident while driving home from a party. That was when they found out who she was, and who she worked for.
At that point, officers asked Garza if she had been drinking, and if the alcohol had affected her ability to drive. She admitted to having a couple of shots of Fireball Whiskey, and said that it had affected her “a little, but not too much”. Police reports from the scene, however, describe Garza as smelling of alcohol, struggling to maintain her balance, and having slurred speech and bloodshot eyes.
But an already bad situation began to get worst when the responding officer tried to arrest Garza for drunk driving. She apparently began to shout at them, telling them not to touch her, and refused to get into the police cruiser. Once inside, however, she attempted to slip the handcuffs off her wrists, then tried to kick open the back door and called the arresting officer offensive names.
After her arrest Garza refused to submit to a Breathalyzer, and a handgun was found in her purse. A subsequent blood draw placed her blood alcohol count at 0.17, which is twice the state’s limit for drunk driving, and is also classified as “super drunk driving”.
Garza has since pled not guilty to charges of attempted resisting and obstructing police, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, failure to stop at the scene of a collision and possession of a firearm while under the influence. She has since been released from Jail on a $200 bond. Her trial has been scheduled for August 5th before District Court Judge Christopher Haenicke.