Cop drunk on duty won't face DUI
County attorney Joel Ensey has decided not to file a drunken driving against a former Peabody police officer arrested Aug. 27 while on duty.
Ensey charged him Friday only with possession of a firearm while under the influence.
Chad L. Voth was on duty and driving his squad car with a blood alcohol level more than 1½ times the legal limit, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The county attorney felt it would be difficult to prove in a court of law,” Karen Selznick, Ensey’s assistant, said.
Other officers responded to traffic stops with Voth, and dispatch logs indicate he responded to other calls in the area. However, no one actually saw him driving his squad car while intoxicated, Selznick said.
Sheriff Jeff Soyez said that when Voth was questioned, he confessed to driving under the influence.
“I drove down 60th and threw (the empty containers) out,” Soyez said Voth told deputies.
But Ensey declined to charge Voth.
The driving under the influence confession was included in the probable cause report filed with the county attorney’s office, Soyez said.
“I don’t know what the county attorney needs,” he added.
Seeing a person driving is not an essential part of a drunken driving case. However, the state supreme court in late August remanded an appeal brought by former undertaker Ty Zeiner back to court for a new trial because the original jury did not receive a definition of “operating a vehicle” instead of “driving a vehicle.”
Zeiner was asleep in his car, parked on the side of the road with the engine turned off, when officers found him intoxicated at 3:30 a.m.
Wichita lawyer David Geffre entered an appearance on Voth’s behalf Friday and requested all records related to the incident.
Peabody police chief Bruce Burke took Voth’s badge the same evening as his arrest, immediately terminating him.
Voth is Whitewater fire chief. Until a year ago, he was a lieutenant with the Newton fire department.
Kansas Board of Emergency Medical Services also lists Voth as a licensed paramedic. Although Voth was not on duty as a paramedic when he was arrested, paramedics and emergency medical technicians are forbidden to work with any level of alcohol in their blood.
Joseph House, executive director of KBEMS, said Voth’s paramedic license would not be affected unless convicted of a felony.
Possession of a firearm while intoxicated is a misdemeanor.
Last modified Sept. 15, 2022