Newport Police Chief: Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson looked “impaired.” My officer did the right thing.
Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda today defended his officer who arrested Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson for drunk driving late in the evening of November 26th on Newport’s Bayfront. Thompson was pulled over after the officer said Thompson failed to use his turn signal.
After talking with him briefly, the officer ordered Thompson out of his car and put him through a field sobriety and agility test which the officer claimed Thompson failed. The officer’s assessment was supported by several other officers who were also on scene, according to Chief Miranda.
Thompson told the news media that when he was given a field breatholizer test it came up 0.0 for alcohol but he was none the less arrested and taken to the Lincoln County Jail where he gave a urine test. Later, Thompson’s urine test came back 0.0 as well with no evidence of any other drugs in his system.
The case was referred to the Linn County District Attorney to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest with the Lincoln County DA’s Office. Special Prosecutor Jason Carlisle this week declined to file the charges as outlined in Thompson’s ticket, reportedly for a lack of evidence for the DUII charge.
“My officer did the right thing by stopping Mr. Thompson and based on his assessment of Mr. Thompson properly arrested him on suspicion of DUII,” said Chief Miranda. “There were several other officers on scene that agreed with my officer that Mr. Thompson appeared impaired. It’s just unfortunate that things played out the way they did. My officer and the others did their job based on their professional training and education.”
Thompson said at the time that the field sobriety test requires a kind of agility that few people his age could pass even when well rested. “I may have been a little tired but I was fully capable of driving my car in a safe manner,” said Thompson. “My only crime was driving at night while being old. No one wants drunk drivers on the road, but I have the right to go to the waterfront at night and watch the fishing vessels come in and deliver their catches without fear of being pulled over and thrown in jail.”
Terry Thompson is a life-long commercial fisherman, former member of the Oregon House of Representatives and is currently a Lincoln County Commissioner.