Whiteland reserve officer arrested on OWI charge

A Whiteland police officer is accused of drunk driving over the weekend in Greenwood.

Michael Todd Pershing, 55, of Trafalgar, was arrested on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of .15 or more. The Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office will decide what, if any, charges to file.

Greenwood police were called to the scene of a property damage accident shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday, near the intersection of State Road 135 and Stones Crossing Road on the city’s far west side. Officers spoke with the driver of a silver SUV, later identified as Pershing, and said he appeared to be intoxicated. Pershing had slurred speech, poor dexterity, and glassy and bloodshot eyes, according to a Greenwood Police Department report.

Officers had Pershing perform multiple field sobriety tests, all of which he failed. Officers then gave him a preliminary breathalyzer test, which showed he had a blood alcohol level of . 189 — more than twice the legal limit. Pershing told police he had three alcoholic beverages and soda with his dinner earlier that evening, according to the report.

Police took Pershing to Greenwood police headquarters, where a certified breathalyzer test was conducted twice. Both tests showed evidence of alcohol consumption. Police then took him to a local hospital for a blood alcohol test, which was sent to a state lab. The results have not yet been made available, the report says.

Pershing, who is employed with Whiteland police as a reserve officer, is on administrative leave pending Greenwood police’s investigation. The department will be as transparent as it can throughout the process, said Rick Shipp, Whiteland police chief.

Pershing was taken to the Johnson County jail and released on $2,000 bond.