Off-duty Border Patrol agent accused of driving drunk, causing major traffic accident

Gonzalez

McAllen police on Wednesday afternoon arrested an off-duty Border Patrol agent who they accuse of drinking and driving and causing a major car crash.

Eduardo Gonzalez, a 37-year-old Edinburg resident, is charged with driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. As of Thursday afternoon, he remained in the Hidalgo County Detention Center on $2,000 in personal recognizance bonds.

This is his second arrest for driving while intoxicated in less than two years. A probable cause affidavit indicates that one of the officers who arrested him Wednesday also arrested him for driving while intoxicated on April 27, 2019.

Police arrested Gonzalez after responding to the 200 block of West Trenton Road at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday for a major traffic accident. As police were arriving, dispatch advised them that a man driving a blue Ford F150 was attempting to leave the scene of the crash.

Authorities say they have video of the crash and of Gonzalez trying to leave the scene.

“Eduardo attempts to reverse and begins to burn the rubber from his rear tires from accelerating. Eduardo was not able to leave the scene due to his front left tire falling off due to the crash,” the probable cause affidavit states.

When police arrived on scene, they say both vehicles had major vehicle damage.

The driver of the Land Rover told police she was stationary in the left turn lane when saw the Ford F-150 traveling directly toward her, police say.

“(She) stated she observed the male driver to the Ford F-150 to be distracted by his phone. (She) stated she attempted to move to her right due to the Ford F-150 veering onto her lane but was still struck by the Ford F-150,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

The woman was unable to get out of her car because her door jammed in the crash. She told police the driver of the truck, later identified as Gonzalez, approached her and asked if she was OK and said he wasn’t the driver of the truck, according to the charging document.

An officer who responded to the scene was able to pry the door open enough that the woman, who sustained a minor injury to her left hand, was able to exit the damaged vehicle, police say.

One of the witnesses to the crash was an off-duty deputy with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, who told police the Ford hit the Land Rover, the charging document states.

“Deputy Ayala stated while he was calling 9-1-1, he observed the driver of the Ford F150 grab a plastic bag from the bed of the truck. Deputy Ayala stated that inside the bag were empty beer cans. Deputy Ayala stated the driver put the bag in the back seat of the vehicle,” the probable cause affidavit states.

The deputy told police that when he asked Gonzalez if he needed medical assistance, he smelled a strong odor of alcohol.

Gonzalez told police that his truck “locked up,” which caused the crash, according to the charging document. The document also states that McAllen police smelled alcohol and said Gonzalez had blood shot eyes.

“I asked Eduardo where he was coming from, to which he stated he worked for Border Patrol and is stationed at the building near La Plaza Mall,” the probable cause affidavit states.

The officer says in their report that they asked Gonzalez to take a field sobriety test, to which police say the man agreed.

“I advised Eduardo to follow me so that I could start the Tests in a better location due to oncoming traffic. Instead, Eduardo walked with unsteady balance to the driver’s side of his Ford F150 and started calling someone on his phone,” according to the charging document.

The officer says they told Gonzalez to get off the phone numerous times so the officer could initiate the field sobriety tests.

“Eduardo ignored my verbal commands and starts calling an additional person. At this point, I determined Eduardo was not going to cooperate with my request for the standardized field sobriety tests,” the probable cause affidavit states.

The officer then decided to arrest Gonzalez for driving while intoxicated, police say.

“Eduardo stated to hold on and refused to place his hands behind his back after being asked. I was able to place a handcuff on Eduardo’s left wrist but he continued to resist,” the charging document states.

Another officer reported hearing a “verbal argument” between Gonzalez and the officer trying to arrest him.

“Eduardo stated multiple times to hold on and that he works for border patrol,” the probable cause affidavit reads.

That’s when both officers took Gonzalez to the ground where police say he continued resisting until they were able to handcuff him.

Police say he refused a breath specimen and police obtained a search warrant for his blood.

The charging document indicates police found beer cans and a “moon shine alcoholic beverage glass container” that was empty in the truck’s cupholder.

In a statement, Border Patrol says it’s aware of the arrest and is cooperating with the investigation.

“On October 7, 2020, a Border Patrol Agent assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Sector was arrested by the McAllen Police Department in an off-duty incident,” the statement reads. “The Rio Grande Valley Sector is committed to cooperating with any criminal or administrative investigation of alleged misconduct involving Border Patrol personnel, on or off duty.”

Gonzalez is scheduled for a hearing in his 2019 driving while intoxicated case in early November, records show.