A Texas Dept. of Public Safety lab report released by Seagraves Police Dept. officials on Tuesday claims Seminole ISD Superintendent Gary Laramore was over two times the legal limit allowed for operating a motor vehicle in the state of Texas when under the influence of alcohol.
According to Seagraves PD Chief Scott McAuley, results of the report indicated Laramore, who was arrested on the evening of October 14 for a Class B Misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, had a blood alcohol content level of 0.186. In Texas, an operator of a motor vehicle is considered under the influence of alcohol if a chemical screening test shows a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.
“We had received the report last week,” said McAuley in a Tuesday afternoon telephone interview with the Seminole Sentinel, who added that the Seagraves PD investigation of the case is complete. “We have passed the case over to (Gaines County Attorney) Joe Nagy.”
Nagy, in a Tuesday afternoon telephone conversation with the Seminole Sentinel, said he could not discuss the specifics of the case, due to it being an active case.
A call placed with Lubbock-based attorney David Guinn, who is representing Laramore in the case, was unsuccessful and not returned as of press time Tuesday.
According to a complaint and affidavit of probable cause for arrest document obtained by the Seminole Sentinel from the Seagraves Police Dept. on Oct. 15, Laramore, 42, of Seminole was assessed his charge after allegedly failing an on-scene field sobriety evaluation at the scene of the traffic stop, located at 2nd Street and Railroad Ave. in Seagraves.
Laramore has been at the helm of the Seminole Independent School District as its top administrator since his hiring in late April.
According to a mid-October news account by the Seminole Sentinel, emergency dispatchers with the Gaines County Law Enforcement Center’s communication’s office received a 9-1-1 emergency call by an unidentified caller who advised of a “white Suburban swerving on the road north of Seagraves (U.S. 62/385), headed south.”
The Seagraves Police Dept. officer stated in his report he located the suspect vehicle in the 1100 block of Railroad Ave., followed the vehicle in observation and “observed the vehicle on the far right side of the road, almost touching the curb,” then, “observed the vehicle swerve to the left of the right hand lane and then cross the dividing line of the right and left lanes.” The report continued, “the vehicle made a quick correction back into the right hand lane and continued to the far right of that lane almost hitting the curb again.”
The Officer’s report further indicated “a very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from the cab of the vehicle,” which was later identified as being a late model Chevrolet Suburban owned by Seminole ISD and issued to Laramore for use in his duties as Superintendent for the school district.
Laramore, who remains at the helm of the Seminole Independent School District as its top administrator since his late April hiring, was asked by the Seagraves Police Officer if he had been drinking, which Laramore had responded that he had “one beer.” The officer stated that Laramore’s speed was “very slurred” and “had a hard time understanding (Laramore).”
The Seagraves PD Officer’s reported stated he then performed a battery of field sobriety evaluations, which the Officer stated Laramore “was having a hard time remaining balanced,” and “had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his person and his breath.”
Laramore, following the completion of the field sobriety evaluations, was placed under arrest for the driving while intoxicated charge and transported to the Gaines County Law Enforcement Center in Seminole.
The affidavit further stated Laramore refused to consent to a “breath specimen” evaluation, but did consent to the collection of a blood specimen, which was conducted at Seminole’s Memorial Hospital.
Laramore was arraigned the following morning by Gaines County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2, Calvin Sellers and was later released lieu of a $1,500 cash bond.
In a brief statement issued the morning following Laramore’s arrest, Seminole ISD Board President Ben Royston called the arrest an “unfortunate incident.”
“An unfortunate incident occurred last night involving the Seminole Superintendent of Schools,” said Royston as he read from a prepared statement in an Oct. 15 press conference held at the Seminole ISD Administration Building.
“Gary Laramore has requested several days of personal leave, and this request has been granted.”
Laramore returned to work at SISD in late October and has been conducting his regular duties as the school district’s top administrator.
SISD Board Decision
Following a 4 1/2 hour executive session conducted on the afternoon of Oct. 18, members of the SISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved of a motion to allow Laramore to return to work after a requested leave of absence, which saw the SISD Superintendent return to work in late October.
As part of the conditions of his return to work, SISD Board Trustees added provisions to Laramore’s contract, which prohibits the use of “any school-owned vehicle, to enter into a 12-step or other comparable alcohol counseling program and provide evidence of his participation in the program to the Board, and submit to regular random drug and alcohol testing.”
Prior to making their decision, SISD Board Secretary Rex Darby read a prepared statement in that read: “I would like to express my intention and hope that the Board will reassess this situation as the investigation into the allegations against Mr. Laramore proceeds and again at the time the charges are adjudicated. The Board may want to re-evaluate its options as we learn more information and if things change.”
Back in late April, Laramore was hired by Seminole ISD officials as its top administrator after being named the lone finalist for the position following a roughly three month search process.
Prior to coming to Seminole, Laramore was a nine year veteran superintendent of Texline ISD and has 18 total years in education. He is a former math teacher at Borger and Panhandle High Schools, and a former middle school principal at Canadian ISD.
Laramore received his Bachelor and Masters Degree from West Texas A&M University in Canyon and his Superintendent Certification from the University of Texas Permian Basin.
In 2013, Laramore was named the Superintendent of the Year for Region 16 ESC and is currently representing Region 16 on the Commissioner’s Cabinet. In recent years, he represented Region 16 on the TASA Leadership and Technology Committee and the TASA Small Schools Committee.
Laramore, per a copy of a superintendent’s employment contract obtained by the Seminole Sentinel through an open records request, was hired for an initial three-year term, beginning on June 1, with an annual salary of $140,000, plus school offered employee benefits.
Dustin Wright, Sentinel Managing Editor
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