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    Former THPD officer avoids O.W.I. charge

    By Michael Tank,


    TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO-WAWV) — Former Terre Haute police officer Jeffrey Pupilli pleaded guilty Monday to public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor and received a 180-day suspended sentence, the maximum for B misdemeanor.

    He was originally charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor.
    however, issues arose the breath-alcohol tests that prevented the prosecutor from pursuing that charge.

    It stems from an incident in 2023, when Pupilli was placed on administrative leave and arrested after he reportedly drove his patrol vehicle at speeds of 93 mph while under the influence, before arriving to work.

    The following is the statement from Rob Roberts, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office:

    Former Terre Haute City Police Officer Jeff Pupilli pleaded guilty today to Public Intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor and received a 180-day suspended sentence, the maximum for B misdemeanor.  Originally charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor, evidentiary issues arose in the case that prevented the Prosecutor from pursuing that charge.  “The initial tests that were done to determine intoxication were not conducted on certified breath test machines by a certified operator.” said Prosecutor Terry Modesitt.  “The machines that were used had a wide variance in the results that is not consistent with the science behind blood alcohol dissipation rates.  This is why certification of the machines and the operators used in criminal cases is required by law.”

    Indiana Code 9-30-6-5 – Standards and regulations for breath test operators, equipment, and chemicals – requires the machine and the operator be certified by the State of Indiana with regular recertifications.  The breath tests that were done with Mr. Pupilli were done during the course of a random check by his employer at a local business that provides such services and were not in accordance with what is required for a criminal case.

    Also, as noted in the plea agreement, former Officer Pupilli has gone above and beyond what most defendants do in addressing the issues that resulted in these charges, including individual therapy and working with a peer recovery coach at the Wabash Valley Recovery Center.  While the case was pending, Mr. Pupilli resigned from the Terre Haute Police Department.

    Prosecutor Modesitt continues to work with people who engage in recovery and support services.  He explained “The Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office has continually encouraged people to seek recovery services to address alcohol and substance use disorders.  Mr. Pupilli was a law enforcement officer at the time of this offense.  But his exceptional efforts at pursuing recovery must still be recognized, just as we do with other defendants with low level drug and alcohol related charges.  The issues with the evidence and his efforts in recovery were both strong considerations in resolving this case with the agreement that was accepted by the Court.”  In addition, the sentence agreement requires Mr. Pupilli to continue these efforts and attend a MADD Victim Impact Panel.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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