Modena Suspends Two Officers in Simms Case

10:18 PM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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Sheriff Jerry Modena will suspend a captain without pay for five days and a sergeant for three for their role in a judge's traffic stop.

Capt. Alden Washington and Sgt. Bruce Jordan will also receive written reprimands, the sheriff says. They'll stay on probation for 90 days, Modena said, and attend a 16-hour course on professional ethics.

Modena held a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce his findings.

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The two allowed Bibb Superior Judge Howard Simms to drive home after he got 0.082 on a breathalyzer test at road check.

Modena read a statement describing the stop, which happened around 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 22 on Lamar Road in west Bibb County,

The stop was part of a multi-county Rolling Thunder road check.

Modena said Simms' red Ford F150 pickup was stopped by a Douglas County deputy, who then smelled alcohol coming from the vehicle.

The deputy turned the matter over to a local officer, which is the usual procedure for those road checks, Modena said.

After the judge presented his license and identified himself, the sheriff said, the deputy called in Capt. Washington and Sgt. Jordan.

Although Simms' breathalyzer results were higher than the normal standard for driving under the influence, Modena said the judge "insisted that he was not impaired."

He said the officers saw no alcohol visible in the vehicle.

"There was no slurred speech, no bloodshot eyes, and Simms appeared the same as he always did," said Modena.

The judge told the officers that he insisted on driving home, that he would not allow anyone else to drive his pickup and that there was nobody at home who could come pick him up.

Capt. Washington followed Simms as he drove home, a distance of about five miles.

In a statement earlier this week, Modena said his officers showed poor judgment by letting Simms drive home and did not follow procedures by failing to give him a roadside sobriety test after the breathalyzer.

Modena read a brief statement Thursday and did not answer questions.




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