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District attorney: Las Vegas constable will not face DUI charge

Updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 6:45 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura will not face criminal charges related to his arrest last week on suspicion of driving under the influence, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.

In a statement, Wolfson said that although Bonaventura’s preliminary breath test showed he was over the legal blood-alcohol limit when he was pulled over Feb. 12, that test is not admissible in court. An arrest report indicates he registered a level of 0.099 on that test.

A second, admissible breath test showed Bonaventura’s blood-alcohol level at 0.069, below the legal limit of 0.08. That test was administered at the Clark County Detention Center less than two hours after his arrest, the report said.

“For these reasons I do not believe that this office could prove Mr. Bonaventura’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Woflson said in the statement.

Lou Toomin, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Township Constable's Office, said Bonaventura would not have a comment on Wolfson's decision.

"The constable made a statement when he got out of jail: 'I'm not guilty.' That's his statement," Toomin said.

Bonaventura was pulled over after Nevada Highway Patrol officers responded to a report of an erratic vehicle traveling on U.S. 95 near Boulder Highway, according to an arrest report.

Officers followed the vehicle as it exited west onto Tropicana Avenue and clocked the vehicle at 50 miles per hour, five over the speed limit, as it made its way into a nearby Wal-Mart shopping center, the report said.

After initiating the stop, the officer reported the smell of Bonaventura’s breath and that he had “bloodshot, glassy and watery eyes,” the report said.

Bonaventura told the officer he hadn’t been drinking and said he was on his way home from his office, the report said. His official weapon was in the car’s center console when he was pulled over, according to the report.

After he exited the vehicle, the situation became tense as Bonaventura refused to follow the officer’s commands, prompting the officer at one point to draw his Taser, the report said.

The officer reported he felt Bonaventura was trying to use his law-enforcement status to intimidate him.

Bonaventura failed two of three field sobriety tests and was arrested after registering a blood alcohol content of 0.099 on the preliminary breath tests, the report said.

He was booked into Clark County Detention Center and was released the next day.

Bonaventura’s arrest came the same day Clark County commissioners announced they’d consider an ordinance to abolish the Las Vegas Constable’s Office, which has been dogged by controversy since Bonaventura took office in 2011.

He alleges that he was followed by NHP officers after leaving his office downtown and that his arrest was retaliation against him by county officials.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on March 19 and could decide to eliminate the office then.

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