An on-duty Pennsylvania State Police trooper had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit when he was found behind the wheel of his patrol car last week, according to court documents filed Monday.
Trooper Kevin Wackley, a 19-year veteran of the force, was found to have a blood alcohol level of .182 when he was administered a breath test at the Hamburg barracks in Tilden Twp., Berks Co., on July 12, according to court documents. The test was conducted about 6-1/2 hours into Wackley's scheduled shift.
Wackley's arrest stemmed from a tip state police received from Chief William McEllroy of the Tilden Township Police Department. McEllroy met Wackley outside Tilden's police station and reported noticing that Wackley had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot and glassy eyes and slurred speech, according to court documents.
"He [Wackley] arrived unexpectedly on an unrelated, personal matter that did not involve our police departrment, and he was directed to the appropriate police department," said Chief McEllroy.
McEllroy telephoned Wackley's supervisors, who then instructed Wackley to park his patrol car in the lot of St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Old Route 22 in Windsor Township and await their arrival, officials said. Wackley was then transported to the Hamburg station, where he agreed to submit to the blood test and provide a statement.
Chief McEllroy also explained why Wackley was not arrested on the spot.
"While contemplating my actions, the arrival of a third-party, uninvolved citizen meant that I had to delay any type of action in regards to Trooper Wackley, so as not to cause a confrontation in front of the citizen," explained Chief McEllroy. "Confrontations have all sorts of unknowns, it could have been a safety issue for the citizen. As soon as the citizen left, I contacted Pennsylvania State Police superiors regarding my suspicions of Trooper Wackley."
Wackley, 47, told Cpl. Jeffrey Sampson that he began drinking alcohol -- beer and vodka -- at his home in Tamaqua, Schuylkill Co., the night before and continued through the early morning hours of July 12, the day of his arrest, because he could not sleep, according to court documents.
Wackley also admitted to driving both his personal vehicle to work and his state police vehicle during his shift while under the influence of alcohol, officials said.
Wackley remains suspended from the force pending the outcome of the investigation.