UPDATE: Trooper Abernathy arrested for DWI charge due to Nov. 5 accident

TYLER (KYTX) -- Veteran State Trooper Joe Don Abernathy turned himself in Monday after being charged with DWI. It was two weeks to the day after he wrecked his patrol car on his way to work.

Abernathy had nothing to say after exiting the Smith County Jail on bond Monday afternoon.

On November 5, Abernathy was in the hospital after wrecking his patrol car. That day DPS trooper Jeanne dark said it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"[He was] on his way to work. And apparently from what he told investigators on the scene, a deer had run out in front of his patrol car," Dark said.

Court documents say Abernathy's fellow trooper--assigned to handle the wreck that morning--found that Abernathy's eyes were glassy, his speech slurred, his balance off, and he smelled like alcohol.

Blood testing showed Abernathy had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he skidded out and hit two trees along a curvy section of Old Bascom road.

This is not the first time Abernathy has been accused of driving drunk. In 1997 a Rusk woman claimed he was drunk as he followed her down a highway and fired a gun at her car.

According to the Cherokeean Herald, the case was dropped after Abernathy's blood sample was ruined while it was being sent to the lab for testing. No one seemed to know how it happened.

Without the evidence Abernathy was able to stay on the force for another fifteen years. DPS said Abernathy resigned the day after the wreck.

Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham did not want to comment directly on the case. He said DPS contacted him the day of the wreck and that the case will be treated just like any other DWI case.

Abernathy was released on $1,000 bond.


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