Crime: Daughter-in-law of police union president sentenced for traffic accident - - PressFrom - US
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Crime Daughter-in-law of police union president sentenced for traffic accident

20:40  08 november  2019
20:40  08 november  2019 Source:   expressnews.com

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A judge has just sentenced Kourtney Helle, the wife of a San Antonio police officer, to four years of deferred adjudication for failing to stop and render aid after she fled from a traffic accident in November 2017.

Kourtney Helle is seen in the 227th State District Court in the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center.© BOB OWEN / Staff Photographer

Kourtney Helle is seen in the 227th State District Court in the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center.

The case sat untouched by prosecutors for about a year before it was discovered under Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, who took office in January.

By the time Police Chief William McManus learned of the case a few months ago, it was far too late for him to discipline any of the officers involved. A provision in the city’s contract with the police union restricts the chief from handing down any discipline for incidents that occurred more than 180 days, or six months, prior.

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Nonetheless, the police department has opened two separate, ongoing investigations — administrative and criminal — into how officers handled the crash.

Around 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2017, Helle pulled her Jeep Wrangler out of the Cross-Eyed Seagull, a North Side bar, and struck a Mercedes SUV, sending it crashing into a guardrail and a tree on Huebner Road.

The collision injured a 17-year-old girl driving the SUV and her front-seat passenger, a 16-year-old boy. The teen driver suffered “swelling to the legs,” and the boy suffered a “severe laceration” to the back of the head, according to police reports. The boy was later diagnosed with a concussion and two bruised ribs.

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After striking the SUV, Helle drove to a nearby apartment complex and called her husband, John Helle, a police officer who is the son of Mike Helle, the longtime president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association. John Helle, who was off-duty at the time, drove to the crash site. On the way, he called two officers who had responded to the scene, police reports state.

Kourtney Helle later told an officer she had been drinking vodka. She was allowed to leave without taking sobriety tests.

At her sentencing hearing, Helle apologized and pleaded ignorance.

“I’m extremely sorry for my actions that night,” she told District Judge Stephanie Boyd. “I’ve been taught that I’m supposed to move off the road.”

A section of the union’s agreement with the city states that “the Chief and City are precluded from the introduction of evidence or otherwise complaining of any acts or occurrences earlier than the (180th) calendar day immediately preceding the date on which the Chief suspends or demotes the Officer.”

That prevents McManus from administering any consequences for the 2017 incident more serious than a reprimand, which is not considered discipline.

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In September of 1992, Minneapolis police officer Jerry Haaf had been looking forward to his retirement in just three months. Instead, his family was left to suddenly plan for his funeral when he was killed in the line of duty. "My dad wasn't killed the way you'd think an officer would be killed," his daughter, Cindy Haaf Benson said. "He was in the"My dad wasn't killed the way you'd think an officer would be killed," his daughter, Cindy Haaf Benson said. "He was in the traffic department, he wrote you the ticket. It wasn't a domestic, it wasn't a chase it wasn't a burglary. He had just finished up a DUI report, sitting back having his cup of coffee and reading the newspaper.

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