Police find “no departmental policies were violated” in DUI traffic stop involving Virginia legislator

Virginia News

UPDATE 10:14 A.M.: Del. Chris Hurst will not face charges once the General Assembly session concludes, Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson told assembled reporters Friday, Feb. 21.

The town’s police department has clarified its policy regarding treatment of members of the General Assembly, Sisson said.

Watch the press conference below.

UPDATE 10:08 A.M.: Christiansburg Police Chief Mark Sisson said “no departmental policies were violated” involving the traffic stop of Del. Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg) on Jan. 26 on suspicion of driving while under the influence.

Lt. Stephen Swecker did not show Hurst favoritism, according to the conclusion of the internal investigation conducted by Christiansburg Police. The investigation, Sisson said, shows the officer treated Hurst just the same as anyone else.

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Christiansburg Police Department will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. regarding the Jan. 26 traffic stop involving Del. Chris Hurst (D-Blacksburg). The two-term lawmaker allegedly blew a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .085, which is .005 above the legal limit, during a Jan. 26 traffic stop. He was not arrested.

Chris Hurst08735404-159532

Lt. Stephen Swecker of the Christiansburg Police Department allowed Hurst’s passenger – who blew a .06 and was not above the legal of .08 – to drive after the pair promised to head to a nearby Walmart to drink some water and sober up.

Police in Christiansburg announced an internal investigation Jan. 30, saying in a statement that it “shares the community’s concern regarding the Jan. 26 traffic stop involving Chris Hurst.”

“The Christiansburg Police Department shares the community’s concerns regarding the Jan. 26 traffic stop involving Chris Hurst and has launched an internal investigation to review if the actions taken during the encounter violated agency policy. Internal investigations must be complete within 30 days, and we will provide additional information once the investigation is complete. The department is also conducting a review of the policies governing DUI enforcement to ensure those policies promote public safety and adequate enforcement action when appropriate and legally permissible under the provisions of the Code of Virginia and the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Our goal and mission at the Christiansburg Police Department remains to provide the best possible law enforcement service to the community.”

Melissa Demmit
Publication Relations Director, Town of Christiansburg

A Jan. 29 statement from Melissa Demmitt, Christiansburg’s public relations director said Hurst was not arrested because of his performance on the field sobriety tests and because a passenger with Hurst was able to drive him home.

The same statement went onto say that Section IV, Article 9 of the Constitution of Virginia makes legislators immune from arrest while the General Assembly is in session unless they have committed treason, a felony, or a breach of the peace. Driving under the influence is a misdemeanor in Virginia until the third offense.

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