A Kentucky constable told a woman to drive her car even though she said she’d been drinking, then took part in charging her with drunken driving, the woman testified.
Kayla Dobbs, 31, said the incident happened in December 2019 as she and three friends returned to Somerset from an outing in Lexington.
Dobbs, who took the witness stand Wednesday in the federal trial of Pulaski County constables Mike Wallace and Gary Baldock, said she and others had been drinking alcohol, but had a designated driver.
The driver pulled over at a gas station in Somerset because one of the other people in the car threw up, Dobbs said.
Dobbs said she was trying to clean up when Wallace arrived and told her they couldn’t sit there and to pull the car to a nearby parking area. Baldock arrived about the same time, she said.
Dobbs said she told Wallace she’d been drinking and so shouldn’t drive. He told her to move the car anyway, even though he’d seen her take the last drink from a bottle and put it in the trash, Dobbs told jurors.
When she moved the car, Wallace flipped on the blue lights on his vehicle and approached her as if he was making a traffic stop, Dobbs testified.
The constables called for assistance from another police officer, who gave Dobbs field sobriety tests and had her blow into a portable breath analyzer. It showed her blood-alcohol level was .114, well above the legal limit for driving, according to a citation.
The citation said Wallace and Baldock identified Dobbs as the driver and said they pulled her over because her rear license plate wasn’t illuminated and for failing to wear a seat belt and failing to produce her vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
Dobbs testified that gift cards and cash were taken from her vehicle after she went to jail. The attorney in her DUI case said in a motion that Wallace seized a $500 Visa gift card, a $250 Walmart gift card and $264 in cash from her vehicle.
The charges against Dobbs were dismissed, but the gift cards and cash weren’t returned, Dobb said in a civil lawsuit filed in December 2020.
In cross-examination by Wallace’s attorney, Robert Norfleet, Dobbs acknowledged pleading guilty to falsely reporting an incident in Wayne County in 2008.
The FBI investigated Wallace and Baldock over suspicion they were falsely charging people and seizing cash or property. A grand jury charged them with conspiring to violate people’s civil rights through improper searches of their homes and vehicles and by taking money or other property from them.
Constables are elected in Kentucky have full police powers.
Attorneys for Wallace and Baldock have argued they did not conduct unconstitutional searches or seize property illegally, and are innocent.
Norfleet said the charges are rooted in in jealousy by other police over Wallace’s success in making drug arrests and an effort to derail his ambition to run for sheriff.
Baldock faces separate charges that he shot an FBI agent when police came to arrest him in March 2020. He will be tried later on those charges