Test shows Thomas under legal limit

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas’ blood alcohol level was half the legal limit the night he was arrested, according to the New Mexico State Police.

Thomas was arrested Aug. 3 after failing a series of sobriety tests at a police checkpoint on State Road 469 between San Jon and Logan, State Police Capt. Daniel Lopez said.

Charges included driving under the influence and an open container violation. Both charges would be misdemeanors and first offenses, the state police said.

Results released Monday show the blood alcohol level was measured at .04 percent, Lopez said. He said blood was drawn from Thomas within an hour of his arrest.

New Mexico’s legal limit is .08 percent.

“There’s a presumption of intoxication made at .08 or better,” Lopez said. “Underneath that, the burden of proof is just a little tougher.”
Lopez said officers often prefer blood tests because they are more difficult to contest in court than breath and field tests.

According to the incident report, Thomas told officers he was on three medications for high blood pressure.

Quay County district attorney Ron Reeves said he will wait until the toxicology report is complete before deciding whether to pursue the driving under the influence charge against Thomas.

“The options are,” Reeves said, “that I don’t have all the information yet to make a decision … until we get the results back from the lab concerning what medications he might have had in the system.”

Results of a toxicology report, Lopez said, are likely 30 days away.

Reeves said the open container charge was likely to stick.

When contacted Monday, Thomas referred questions to his attorney, Hal Greig. Greig did not return a call seeking comment.

The Clovis City Commission held a special meeting Wednesday to discuss Thomas’ arrest. A release from the commission said Thomas would remain city manager and “further developments will be evaluated by the Commission when deemed appropriate.”

Clovis Mayor David Lansford acknowledged Monday night he had received the information about the blood test results, but declined further comment.

Freedom Newspapers staff writer Sharna Johnson contributed to this report.