Former Ballinger police officer, Ernest Juarez, was arrested on August 1st on a charge stemming from an incident on June 28th, the night of Ballinger’s annual “Party in the Park.” City manager Tommy Turney commented at the time of the investigation, “There was an altercation involving an off-duty police officer (Juarez) and a citizen. Due to the alleged misconduct, Juarez has been placed on administrative leave until further notice.” There have been no charges filed at this time but Turney elaborated further on the incident, “Officer Suzanne Torres and another officer responded to the disturbance. They sorted it out and took Juarez home. The very same night Sgt. Chris Sargent asked Runnels County Sheriff Carl Squyers to conduct the investigation because we did not want there to be any sense of impropriety or favoritism.”
According to the Texas Transportation Code, 545.401, Reckless Driving is a misdemeanor punishable by a find of up to $200 and/or up to 30 days in jail. It is defined as; “A person commits and offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Juarez’s bond was set at $3,000.00 and he bonded out the same day that he was booked into jail. Juarez turned himself in when the warrant was issued.
Juarez’s name was not on the booking sheet for that week but Sheriff Carl Squyers contacted the newspaper on his own initiative on August 7th and informed us of the oversight. Juarez’s name will on the booking sheet the following week.