Police: Suspended NOPD officer may have been driving drunk

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 20 at 7:20 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS - A 22-year veteran New Orleans police officer was arrested and charged with reckless driving and evading police on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Authorities say another driver called Causeway police after NOPD Sergeant Gary Calico passed him driving very erratically on the 24-mile bridge, Wednesday night.

"The original call was because another motorist thought this individual was impaired and was driving under the influence of alcohol," said Causeway GM Carlton Dufrechou.

Police caught up with Calico's car and tried to get him to stop. They say Calico slowed down like he was about to stop as he got off the bridge on the Northshore. Then, according to police, Calico hit the gas and sped down Highway 190.

At one point he was clocked going more than 96 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone.

"He tried to lose not only our officer, but the state police, made a u-turn in one area and almost hit both police units," said Dufrechou.

The high speed chase ended inside a gated community in Covington. Police spotted his car in front of a house and knocked on the door.

"At first no one came out, knocked again and then a teenager came out and my understanding is this may have been the driver's son," said Dufrechou. "He indicated or stated that his father was not at home."

Police got a warrant and for Calico's arrest. He surrendered with his attorney Raymond Burkhart at St. Tammany Parish Prison, Thursday night.

"We haven't seen the police reports," said Burkhart. "We haven't seen the evidence. We know they are just that, allegations and he has a presumption of innocence, until proven guilty. Everybody needs to remember that." Burkhart described the charges against his client as traffic violations.

"People speed on that bridge every day, all day," said Burkhart. "People make illegal u-turns every day, all day. People come flying off that bridge, every day, all day."

The NOPD fired Calico after a high speed chase on the Causeway seven years ago. The city's Civil Service Commission ruled there was not sufficient grounds to support the firing and ordered his reinstatement.

The NOPD placed Calico on emergency suspension after this latest brush with the law.

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