Famous people are not above committing crimes or being caught in compromising positions. The problem often arises when these people are treated differently than normal people. This might be the case after popular drive-time radio host Jeff Ward’s DWI charges were dropped.
On June 9, Jeff Ward was pulled over for excessively speeding around 11 PM. There is no clear evidence whether he submitted to a field sobriety test or he declined. The arrest affidavit claims that he did not, whereas he maintained that he did. Sources have said that he was taken into custody and spent the night in jail. Yet, unlike most people he called Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo at home.
On Friday, the attorney for Travis County David Escamilla was contacted by the Austin Police Chief and was told to drop the case. Acevedo said he had already been notified about Ward’s arrest before receiving his call. Officers routinely alert supervisors of high-profile cases. Police officials reviewed evidence in Ward’s case the morning after his arrest. Upon this review, Chief Acevedo urged Escamilla not to prosecute. This is not the only time Travis County has failed to pursue a DWI charge. Last month, the American-Statesman, in collaboration with KVUE News, reported that Travis County has dismissed a greater percentage of drunken driving cases than other main Texas counties, partially because prosecutors said police filed weak cases.
This prompted an outcry from Austin police and county prosecutors that Ward was given preferential treatment. Acevedo maintained that officers commonly evaluate the arrest videos for elected officials, celebrities, athletes, police officers and other high-profile cases. “Ward’s case was treated like any other high-profile incident,” Acevedo said. “It was reviewed by the chain of command and submitted to the county attorney’s office, who made an independent decision, and we respect his decision.”