IOWA CITY, Iowa — Accusations have surfaced that an Iowa State Patrol trooper, who allegedly tried to get out of an OWI charge, received special treatment in jail. The trooper has since resigned.
It all started on Dec. 20 when off-duty trooper Patrick Steinbach was pounding on a woman’s door in Williamsburg.
Audio and video from the arresting officer’s body camera was recently released to The Associated Press. The content reveals the officer made note that Steinbach smelled of alcohol and had open containers in his car. He was also not cooperating with the officer.
The officer called his superior, Chief Ray Garringer, and asked what to do.
“We have to just handle it like we would anybody else. In fact, you go out of your way to make sure you don’t show favoritism because these things are messy. And if you try to do something favoritism, it just gets messier,” Garringer told WHO-TV.
After getting Steinbach to take a breathalyzer test, Garringer and his officer found that Steinbach’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit and he was placed under arrest. The audio catches Steinbach trying to get out of it, saying he has a cousin who is an OWI lawyer.
The Associated Press reports that Steinbach was not placed in handcuffs, he did not get his booking photo taken and he wasn’t placed in a jail cell for hours.
The AP reported that according to Iowa County Sheriff Rob Rotter, the booking officer, Doug Krutsinger, treated Steinbach like a friend instead of an inmate and violated several booking policies.
“The sheriff dealt swiftly with that when he realized there was a problem, and he consulted with me, and the county attorney and the Attorney General’s office to make sure that that whole situation was above board too — that there was no cover-up of any type there,” Garringer said.
It is not clear whether Krutsinger was fired or resigned, but he no longer works for the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office. What is clear is the disappointment Garringer has because he says Steinbach put himself in a situation that cost two men their jobs
“Very good guy. Any interactions our department had with him have been wonderful, very nice to work with. Always helpful to us, no complaints at all,” Garringer said.
The Iowa State Patrol declined to comment.
The AP reports that Steinbach, a Cedar-Rapids based trooper, pleaded guilty to operating while intoxicated last week, and was fined nearly $1,300. He was sentenced to either two days in jail or an OWI program.