Former St. Louis cop admits crashing police SUV while driving drunk off duty
• By Robert Patrick St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A photo of a police SUV damaged when then-St. Louis officer Jason Flanery crashed it while driving under the influence in December 2015. This photo was part of a sentencing memo entered into the court record by prosecutors.
ST. LOUIS • A former St. Louis police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.
Jason Flanery, 33, will serve two years of probation, attend aSubstance Abuse Traffic Offender Program and watch a talk by a panel of victims affected by drinking and driving.
He also paid about $3,400 to cover damage to the parked vehicle that he hit and a police SUV he was driving while off-duty.
Prosecutors said Flanery drank and took cocaine before crashingon Jamieson Avenue in Lindenwood Park about 6:20 a.m. on Dec. 19. Tipped by witnesses who described the police SUV, officers found it at Flanery’s home a few blocks away.
He appeared “quite intoxicated” but refused field sobriety and breath tests, forcing police to seek a search warrant for his blood, they said. Seven hours after the crash, Flanery’s blood-alcohol level was 0.117 percent, well beyond the 0.08 percent legal limit. Another test showed the presence of cocaine, prosecutors said.
In an interview, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said Flanery apologized to the victim, who was “satisfied” with the outcome.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors sought one year behind bars, calling it “reprehensible” for Flanery to have used cocaine and “morally repugnant for a police officer, who is sworn to uphold the law, to leave the scene of an accident” and create a “financial hardship; for an innocent person.” The memo said probation would not be appropriate.
But Joyce acknowledged that probation is a typical outcome, and said she was “not surprised.” In a prepared statement, she said pursuit of a tough sentence should “send a message to anyone involved in law enforcement.”
Flanery has resigned from the force. Defense lawyer Matt Fry said he is attending school and no longer is in law enforcement.
Fry said that cocaine did not come up at the plea hearing, and that Flanery did not admit to using it. The lawyer said that the test showed only a metabolite, not actual cocaine.
Fry said a request for a year in jail was “ridiculous.” He said he told Circuit Judge Michael Mullen that a first-time offender would get the same deal in the city and in St. Louis and St. Charles counties. “Nothing special about it,” he said.
Flanery was charged just days after he was sued over the fatal shooting of VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18, on Oct. 8, 2014. Flanery had been in uniform but off duty at the time, working for a private security company. An investigation confirmed his claim that he had been defending himself.