City of Espanola Police Ofc. Gabriel Wadt is charged with driving under the influence and evading or obstructing a police officer. Photo Courtesy LAPD
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
City of Espanola Police Officer and Los Alamos resident Gabriel Wadt, 30, has been charged with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.
On Wednesday at around 5 p.m. Los Alamos Police Cpl. David Randleman responded to Sandia and 44th Street for a possible DUI. Cpl. David Boe spoke to the reporting party who indicated that the driver of a black Cadillac with temporary plates was driving erratically and appeared to be intoxicated.
Officer Randleman made contact with Wadt who was unresponsive in the driver’s seat of the vehicle with the transmission in drive. Randleman knocked on the vehicle and tried to get Wadt’s attention. He tried to get into the vehicle through the passenger’s door to place the vehicle in park but it was locked. He woke Wadt by shaking him and told him to put the car in park. Randleman’s report states that began to drive forward and almost struck the Espanola Police Department patrol unit parked in front of him.
Randleman reported that he got Wadt to stop and then reached into the vehicle, put it in park and pressed the ignition button to stop the motor. He noted a strong odor of intoxicating liquor. When Randleman asked Wadt for insurance, registration and his driver’s license, Wadt reportedly refused to give them saying Randleman was not a police officer.
Randleman’s report states that Cpl. Boe was able to get Wadt to provide his driver’s license and that Boe allowed Wadt to exit the vehicle to retrieve his license from his back pocket. Randleman observed Wadt to be very unsteady on his feet. After confirming Wadt’s identity from his license, Randleman asked Wadt to remove his sunglasses. Randleman’s report indicates that Wadt’s eyes appeared bloodshot and watery. He asked Wadt if he had anything to drink that day and Wadt stated that he had not. Asked if he was on any prescription medication or non-prescription drugs, Wadt stated that he was not. He then stated that he was on prescription medication but would not tell Randleman what he was on.
Asked if he would take standardized field sobriety tests, Wadt agreed to take them. While Randleman went to position his patrol vehicle to record the sobriety tests, Boe stayed to watch Wadt. As Randleman walked to his vehicle he heard Boe yell, “Gabe”. He turned around to witness Wadt running towards the house. He yelled for Wadt to stop as he ran after him but Wadt ignored his commands to stop and continued to evade Randleman. Wadt ran through the garage and into the house where he barricaded himself and refused to come out. Officers retreated to cover at that point for safety reasons.
The reporting party provided a written statement describing Wadt’s inability to maintain his lane and speed and indicating that Wadt had nearly crashed into the barriers dividing lanes. A video was also provided corroborating the statement.
A warrant was issued for Wadt’s arrest and he was served Thursday. He was released on his own recognizance under conditions of release by Los Alamos Magistrate Judge Pat Casados and a pretrial hearing has been slated for Oct. 2.
Espanola Police Department Sgt. Jeremy Apodaca confirmed Friday morning that Wadt is on paid administrative leave pending a full internal investigation. He said it is likely that the the New Mexico State Law Enforcement Academy will also review the case. Wadt had been a City of Espanola police officer for some 2 1/2 years.
Wednesday’s incident is not Wadt’s first brush with the law in Los Alamos County. Court records indicate that he was charged with driving under the influence in 2014 and following a deferrment in Los Alamos Magistrate Court, that charge was dismissed. In July 2014, he was also charged with resisting or evading an officer, criminal trespass in June 2015, two counts of battery against a household member and one count of property damage in July 2015. Those charges were dismissed by the prosecutor. Charges of cruelty to animals and failure to vaccinate in 2017 were also dismissed by the prosecutor.
Wadt has also faced challenges on the job with EPD, including an excessive force complaint that garnered statewide attention.