FRIENDSWOOD — A Friendswood police officer charged with driving while intoxicated after his off-duty arrest last year in Pearland pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of public intoxication offered because of an error on the paperwork for a blood search warrant, Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said.
Officer Fred Cramer, who has been with the department since 2007, told investigators he had been at a sports bar in Harris County shortly before he was arrested by Pearland police in October, Yenne said.
A Pearland officer approached Cramer because his motorcycle was lying in the roadway, Yenne said. After Cramer refused to take a field sobriety test, the Pearland officer obtained a blood search warrant and drew Cramer’s blood, which had a blood alcohol content three times over the legal limit, Yenne said.
However, the Pearland officer accidentally put his own name on the warrant, rather than Cramer’s.
That “fatal, inadvertent flaw” would have made it difficult to convict Cramer of driving while intoxicated, Yenne said.
A witness who saw Cramer leaving the bar said the Friendswood police officer did not appear intoxicated, and no one actually saw Cramer operating the motorcycle, Yenne said.
Cramer pleaded guilty June 2 to the lesser charge of public intoxication, and will have to pay a $500 fine, according to Brazoria County court records.
“I wasn’t going to do nothing about Mr. Cramer,” Yenne said. “It was clear to me that he was intoxicated, and I wanted to get it on the public record.”
Yenne said Pearland police and the Brazoria County District Attorney’s Office treated the Friendswood officer the same as any other defendant accused of drunken driving.
“I’m not going to treat anybody different, and it’s embarrassing that he’s a public servant who was behaving this way,” Yenne said.
Friendswood Police Chief Robert Wieners said the department conducted an internal investigation after Cramer’s arrest in October. The officer remains with the police force, but was given a letter of reprimand in January and referred to substance abuse counseling, police said.