Durant police officer charged with DUI pleads guilty to lesser charge

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DURANT,OK -- An off duty police officer charged with a DUI has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

On Tuesday, October 15, just after midnight, Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to a truck that had crashed on Highway 91, west of Achille. The pickup was owned by an off duty Durant Police officer, Brandon Carbaugh. According to OHP, Carbaugh failed a field sobriety test at the scene, but was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and never booked into jail.

On Friday, Carbaugh appeared in court, facing a charge of driving under the influence. But the charge was reduced to reckless driving, despite a toxicology report stating his blood alcohol level was .133, over one and a half times the legal limit.

"By the very nature of his employment he's being treated differently." said Assistant District Attorney Erik Johnson, Coal County.

Erik Johnson has been the conflict prosecutor in the case and negotiated the plea agreement with Carbaugh.

He says in cases like these, the District Attorney's office looks at all aspects of the incident to find out if they could make a DUI case.

"He wasn't caught driving the vehicle. He wasn't in the vehicle at the time when the officer made contact with him," said Johnson.

OHP Trooper Scott Hampton released a statement saying, "The night Carbaugh was arrested, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol did their job and made the roads safer for Oklahomans to travel," but wouldn't talk about what they saw that night.

"I'm not saying I couldn't convict him of a DUI. I'm very certain I could've convicted him of a DUI," said Johnson.

When News 12 reported on the story last year, Durant Police told us Carbaugh was on administrative leave. When we called Police Deputy Chief David Houser Friday, he declined to speak with us due to the ongoing investigation.

When asked if Carbaugh was getting special treatment because of his position as a police officer, Johnson says when anyone with a clean record makes a mistake, they could get a break.

"There's times when I'll make amendments and give them a lighter sentence than a regular DUI," said Johnson.