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Officer faces new charges

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Terry Austin
Terry Austin

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield police officer already suspended from duty and facing three felony charges was arrested for the third time over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving.

Terry Austin, an 18-year veteran of the Greenfield Police Department, was stopped around 1 a.m. Saturday in the 9500 block of North CR 600W after he nearly sideswiped a passing police car, court documents state.

In a report supporting two misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the McCordsville police officer states that Austin was southbound on 600W when he sped past on a motorcycle, drifting dangerously close to the center line and nearly causing a collision.

The officer turned around and followed Austin, noting his motorcycle crossed the center line several times, the report states.

He stopped Austin just as Austin was pulling the bike into the driveway of his girlfriend’s house. He noticed an odor of alcohol as Austin approached the patrol car, the report states.

The officer told Austin he had seen him swerving. Austin apologized and admitted he’d had a few drinks, court documents state.

Austin failed several field sobriety tests and then submitted to a preliminary blood test, which showed his blood-alcohol content at 0.12 percent, the documents said. The legal threshold for intoxication is 0.08 percent.

An official breath test was given at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at 1:48 a.m., and Austin still registered 0.10 percent and was arrested.

He is charged with two misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Those charges are on top of three felonies Austin is already facing.

He was suspended from duty without pay in April after fellow officers reported he had offered them a bribe to pull over his ex-wife and tow her car. Austin was charged with bribery, a Class C felony, and official misconduct, a Class D felony.

During an internal investigation into the original charges, an investigator found what he considered incriminating text messages between Austin and two women.

According to charging documents in Hancock Circuit Court, Austin solicited sex for himself and a friend from two female acquaintances.

The friend was a fellow police officer from Florida who was in town visiting family when the texts were sent in January, court documents state.

Austin offered a second woman $100 to have sex with him and another $100 to have sex with his friend, court documents state.

An Indiana State Police investigator interviewed one of the women, who provided her address during the text conversation with Austin.

She told police she met Austin on an online dating site and thought he was joking around with her during the conversation in January. She said the sexual encounter with the men never happened, according to court records.

After the original case was filed, the Greenfield Board of Works and Public Safety suspended Austin without pay but allowed him to keep his benefits. His take-home police car, badge and department-issued firearm were also taken away at the time.

Police Chief John Jester declined to comment on the newly filed charges Monday, saying he had not yet had a chance to review all the facts of the case.

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