South Bend police officer arrested in LaPorte County on DUI charge

2013-10-21T12:35:00Z 2013-10-22T01:20:07Z South Bend police officer arrested in LaPorte County on DUI chargeStan Maddux Times Correspondent
October 21, 2013 12:35 pm  • 

A South Bend police officer was arrested Saturday on a drunken driving charge after wrecking his vehicle in LaPorte County.

Jeff McKee, 33, of LaPorte was taken into custody Saturday and charged with operating while intoxicated, a Class D felony.

LaPorte County Sheriff's Deputy Andy Hynek said Monday he was off duty in his unmarked police vehicle when he came across the crash in the 3900 block of North County Road 350 East just after 7 p.m. Saturday.

McKee, a South Bend police officer, hit two telephone junction boxes and was still behind the wheel of his 2002 Ford F-150 pick up truck sitting halfway off the roadway, police said.

"I could tell he had been drinking," said Hynek.

Hynek called the police dispatcher and Deputy Cade Cooper responded to the crash finding McKee still in the vehicle with the headlights on and the engine still running.

In his report, Cooper said McKee staggered after stepping out of his pickup truck, telling the officer he had a "couple of beers."

He also told officers he wasn't sure how the accident happened.

His vehicle sustained just minimal damage, police said.

McKee was already suspended from his police officer's position for a drunk driving arrest in October of 2012 when taken into custody again on allegations of operating while intoxicated in February.

He pleaded guilty in September to Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated and as part of the deal enrolled in counseling through the Veterans Administration.

Successful completion of counseling would result in the charges in February being dismissed.

LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi said McKee is a veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, which is why he was ordered into counseling with a chance to have the charges dismissed.

Szilagyi said the arrest could mean McKee getting sentenced on the charge, which carries a sentence of up to a year in jail. But, he said, that is up to a judge to decide.

LaPorte County Jail Commander Sgt. Mike Kellems said McKee is being held without bond for 15 days because he was on probation at the time of his arrest.

He said bail will be set once the holding period has expired.

"He's not eligible for bond right now," said Kellems.

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