Albuquerque Police officer Donald Correia was training to become a helicopter pilot until his wife was seriously injured in an ATV crash last weekend. Responding officers reported that his breath reeked of alcohol which Correia admitted drinking before and after the crash. Correia denied driving the ATV when the crash took place, but admitted driving it home afterwards and drinking Fire Ball whiskey. He is charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), tampering with evidence, and negligent use of a deadly weapon. That last charge is for having his gun on him.
We find it suspicious that none of the news coverage addresses the marks visible on Correia's head that are not present in his official APD photo in the video below or the fact that he appears to be wearing a hospital gown in his mugshot. What was he hospitalized for? Was it alcohol poisoning or his injuries? How was he injured? We think he was injured in the crash and was probably driving the ATV with his wife holding on behind him.
The APD release a statement saying, "He did not fly the helicopter, but he was training to do so ... He has been on the force since 2007." Hopefully this crash happened just in time to ground a drunk pilot. Drunk pilots have been a concern for quite some time (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hL6nXfBhj0) since even small aircraft pose a significant risk to people on the ground. The fact that he was working as a mechanic on the helicopter is also disturbing since bad mechanics are often to blame for aircraft crashes.
According to public records, Donald Ray Correia is a 48 year old resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico. His only prior run-in with the law was in a 1984 Maricopa County case (case number CR141872) which is listed as "unspecified." In 2009, BAC Home Loans Servicing LP obtained a civil judgement against him for $215,960 in Bernalillo District Court (case number CV200906043). He is affiliated with DRC Aviation LLC. He has a an active pilot's license (license number A4893182). He is a registered Republican.