In a region with poor public transit but plenty of available parking at the bar, it's no longer surprising to learn that someone in law enforcement was arrested for driving drunk. That doesn't make it OK that a longtime Dallas Police Department officer allegedly drove while under the influence in Cedar Hill last Saturday. But it is hard to muster outrage at Senior Corporal Doreen Sotelo-Celedon for an offense that so many people here commit without consequence. What is inexcusable, however, is her remarkably poor performance on her sobriety tests. Don't cops get extra practice at those things?
Sotelo-Celedon is no newbie, either. She's been at the DPD for 23 years. She was pulled over in Cedar Hill on January 24 in her black Mercedes Benz, indicating that the corporal at least has classy taste. The Cedar Hill officers looked into her eyes and decided she'd make a good candidate for a sobriety test.
For her first sobriety test, officially called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, Sotelo-Celedon was asked to follow the Cedar Hill cop's finger with her eyes.The task proved difficult, according to the Cedar Hill police report:
...the defendant continually closed her eyes and would look away from my finger.
And then came the excuses. First she said her eyesight "would not allow her [to] focus [on] the officer's finger" and backed away. The Cedar Hill officer placed her back into the starting position to redo the test, but the corporal still had nothing but excuses:
She continually closed her eyes and stated that she could not focus on my finger because it was too close to her face.
Oh no, honey, don't ever say an officer's finger is too close to your face, that's about as obvious as complaining to an officer that his flashlight is too bright. The next time you find yourself literally unable to keep your eyes open even though you were operating a motor vehicle only moments ago, blame it on allergies. You're not falling asleep while standing up, you're allergic to the outdoors.
Apparently unsatisfied with the results of Sotelo-Celedon's vision test, the Cedar Hill cop continued to look for other clues that she might be drunk. The police narrative provides a blow-by-blow account of her failures. During the Walk and Turn Test, Sotelo-Celedon lost her balance, started walking and turning before she was supposed to and then somehow "completed an improper turn." For the One Leg Stand, "she put her foot down and swayed," which is definitely not a one leg stand. She tried it again, but she couldn't do it without bending her legs:
During the test the defendant had her leg bent, once she was told to straighten her leg she immediately lost balance. She also was told multiple times to look down at her foot while she counted. She would start to lose balance then would look up.
Sotelo-Celedon was taken to jail and the DPD announced shortly afterward that she'll be placed on administrative leave while an investigation is pending. She hasn't yet returned a message left on her phone.
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.