An off-duty Kosciusko patrolman has resigned after he was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with driving under the influence. The arrest came after the vehicle he was driving reportedly hit an unoccupied parked vehicle on Fairground Street, hit a light pole at road’s edge, and then came to a stop after it hit a tree in a nearby yard.
Patrolman Jose Martinez, 25 — a police academy graduate who had been on the Kosciusko Police Department (KPD) for a little over a year — was off-duty and was not driving a police vehicle at the time of the accident at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday. Martinez himself called the accident in to the 911 call center on his police radio, referring to the incident as “officer-involved.”
KPD officers, members of the Attala County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), an ambulance, the Kosciusko Fire Department (KFD), and Kosciusko Water & Light (KWL) personnel all responded to the scene in the aftermath of the accident. Other than Martinez, no other persons were reportedly involved in or injured during the accident.
Martinez was placed under arrest at the scene by Lucas Smith of the Attala County Sheriff's Office.
Although the accident occurred within the city limits, the ACSO was called in to oversee the investigation because a KPD officer was involved.
“Any time there is a conflict, we call each other,” Attala County Sheriff Tim Nail said of the practice of calling in another agency. Nail said the same is usually the case with any city or county vehicle or department involved in an incident.
“I told them to just do their job and do it professionally,” Nail said he told his deputies when they called to inform him of the oversight request. “It’s a bad situation any time any officer is involved, but we took an oath to do our job no matter what. Same thing applies to us.”
Nail said Martinez was initially taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Attala for evaluation and, while there, he consented to urinalysis and blood tests to determine the amount of alcohol in his system.
Martinez was then booked at the ACSO with a $1,000 bond and $614 fine before he was transported to the Leake County jail. No court date has been scheduled.
Acting Kosciusko Police Chief David White referred all inquiries regarding the incident and investigation to the ASCO but told The Star-Herald late Thursday afternoon that Martinez had submitted his resignation from the department effective immediately.