GONZALES — A Gonzales police officer, honored last year by a local group as one of three law enforcement officers of the year, is under investigation after the State Police accused him of DWI on Monday when he was involved in a car accident while off duty, Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson said Wednesday.
Cpl. Randy Clouatre Jr., who’s been with the Police Department since 2006, was involved in a crash at Airline Highway and La. 30 in Ascension Parish, said Jackson, who added that he was notified of the wreck by the State Police.
Trooper 1st Class Jared Sandifer, State Police spokesman, said Clouatre was booked into Ascension Parish Jail on counts of first-offense DWI and careless operation of a vehicle.
The accident happened just after 4 p.m. Monday when Clouatre’s vehicle struck another vehicle at the intersection, Sandifer said. The other driver had minor injuries, he said.
“The Louisiana State Police is taking care of the criminal aspect of it, and we’re going to take care of the administrative aspect of it,” Jackson said of the two investigations into the incident.
Jackson said that Clouatre is continuing to work at the Police Department while the two investigations are underway.
“I have to do my investigation,” Jackson said, adding that he has not heard Clouatre’s side of the story.
“I have to allow him enough time to have an attorney” since the police officer is a Civil Service employee, Jackson said.
Police officers must obey all local, state and federal laws, he said.
If the investigation finds that Clouatre violated Police Department policies, he will be disciplined, Jackson said, which could include termination.
Clouatre was honored in 2013 as one of three Law Enforcement Officers of the Year by five Ascension Parish area Knights of Columbus councils.