In a case which is sure to raise further questions about the abuse of power by persons of authority in Mexico, the Operations Director of the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) in Yucatán was involved in a drink-driving car accident during the early morning hours of Sunday August 2nd, in Colonia El Porvenir in the west part of the city of Mérida.
The Operations Director, Emilio Fernando Zacarías Laines, (who is one of the officials closest to SSP Commander Luis Felipe Saidén Ojeda), according to witnesses was driving his own car the wrong way along a one way street; he then reversed, and hit Taxi 522 of the TAXI-PLUS company, on Avenida Merida 2000. He was off duty at the time.
The incident occurred at 2.30 am, outside a party salon. The taxi driver was injured in the accident, and was taken to hospital. Witnesses stated that Zacarías Laines got out of his car and told the taxi driver he was a senior official of the SSP.
According to the SSP, Zacarías Laines was arrested and taken to the police cells. As reported in the Diario de Yucatán, various sources informed that the chief passed through two breathalyzer checkpoints prior to causing the accident, however was not detained at either, due to his position as one of the heads of the SSP. An unidentified SSP source told Diario de Yucatán that “We can’t stop him, he’s the boss. If we detain him, we will get fired”.
Latest news indicates that the taxi driver has “pardoned” the chief, following a financial settlement in which the chief will cover the cost of damage to the taxi and injuries to the driver.
The SSP on a daily basis sets up breathalyzer checkpoints in Mérida and throughout the state, to try to reduce accidents related to alcohol consumption, and also runs campaigns against drunk-driving. Ironically, Zacarías Laines, along with Martín Inurreta, the Undersecretary of Transportation, is responsible for designating the locations where the checkpoints will be set up.
The Yucatan Times invites the SSP to submit full and complete proof that the incident was handled the same way as any other accident would have been, and that SSP chief Emilio Fernando Zacarías Laines was treated exactly the same as any other drunk driver would have been; additionally that the “pardon” was entirely voluntary on the part of the taxi driver.
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Material for this story was sourced from the Diario de Yucatán
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