La PORTE – An employee of the La Porte County Sheriff's Department is free on bond after being charged with drunken driving following a single-vehicle crash early Saturday near La Porte.
Kaylee M. Nugent, 23, is charged with misdemeanor counts of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Endangering a Person, and OWI with blood alcohol concentration of at least .08% but less than .15, according to court records.
A spokesman for the sheriff's office said Nugent is a jail deputy who has been employed by the department since August 2017. She was off-duty and not working at the time of the incident.
About 4:30 a.m. Saturday, sheriff's deputies responded to a property damage accident involving a tree near Severs Road and CR-100W, just north of the city in Center Township, according to a police report. Officers arrived to find an SUV parked in the roadway with heavy damage to its right side.
Nugent, the driver, told police she and a friend were traveling northbound on CR-100W when she came upon a downed tree in the roadway and was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision, the report said. Neither Nugent nor her passenger, a 25-year-old man, requested medical attention.
While discussing the crash, the deputy detected the "strong odor of alcoholic beverages from her breath and person," the report said. Nugent said she had one beer at a local bar, but the officer reported that her eyes were glassy her speech "slow and slurred."
After failing field sobriety tests, she submitted to a breath test, which recorded a BAC of .13%, the report said.
Nugent was taken to the La Porte County Jail, where a certified test showed a BAC of .12 percent, according to the report. At that point she was arrested and charged. The vehicle was towed from the scene.
She appeared Monday in Superior Court 3, where she pleaded not guilty and was released on bond, according to court records. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 21.
The sheriff's department spokesman would not discuss Nugent's job status, saying the department "does not publicly comment on personnel matters."
—From staff reports