Julian Navarrette

Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy Julian Navarrette is congratulated by Sheriff Mark Lamb after being sworn in as an officer.

TEMPE — A Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy is under investigation after he allegedly tried to convince an Arizona State University Police officer to let him go after he was pulled over for suspected drunken driving.

According to an ASU Police report, Julian Navarrette, 26, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of liquor/drugs/vapor/combo and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

“Deputy Navarrette is currently the subject of an internal investigation related to this incident, and as such we cannot discuss the case,” PCSO spokeswoman Lauren Reimer stated in an email.

At 2:14 a.m. on Dec. 5, an ASU Police officer spotted a white Dodge Challenger allegedly pull out of a bar in the 900 block of East University Drive in Tempe at a “high rate of speed.” The officer started to follow the car and clocked it at approximately 60 mph in a 40 mph zone. The officer also saw the vehicle swerved out of its lane into the fast lane and then into the bike lane.

When the driver made a southbound turn onto South McClintock Drive, the officer pulled the vehicle over.

When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver, later identified as Navarrette, already had his driver’s license out and “also made it a point to show me his Pinal County Sheriff’s Office ID,” the officer reported.

The officer stated in his report that he could smell a strong odor of alcohol on Navarrette and asked him how much he had had to drink. Navarrette allegedly told the officer a couple of drinks.

The ASU officer called for a sergeant from the office to respond to the scene. As the officer waited for the sergeant to arrive, he stated that he attempted to get Navarrette into a position to start a horizontal gazed nystagmus test, a field sobriety test that looks at how a person’s eyes react in following an object placed in front of them. Navarrette allegedly refused to comply.

He allegedly kept telling the ASU officer “‘I’m good wit you bro’ in a slurred manner.”

Navarrette then allegedly asked the officer what they were doing and when the officer told him it would be a gazed nystagmus test, Navarrette asked if someone else in the car could do it instead.

“I asked him why we would have someone else do the tests and he told me ‘Because I’m a police officer.’”

At that point, the sergeant arrived on the scene and Navarrette allegedly told the officers, “I’m just trying to get my (expletive) friends home” and “You’re risking my (expletive) career.”

Navarrette also allegedly kept asking officers to “help him out.”

The sergeant stated in his report that Navarrette asked to speak to him. When the sergeant asked how many drinks Navarrette had had, he allegedly told the sergeant that he had had three mixed drinks. The sergeant asked Navarrette if he felt that he was impaired and Navarrette allegedly responded “I feel like I could get my friends home” and “I feel I’m OK to drive.”

The sergeant was able to talk Navarrette into doing a different series of field sobriety tests that gauge a person’s balance and ability to follow directions. Navarrette allegedly did not do well and officers asked him to breathe into a portable machine. The portable breath test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.121%.

When Navarrette was informed that he was being placed under arrest for DUI, he allegedly asked the officer “why are you doing this to me?” and told the officer he was jeopardizing his career.

At the ASU Police station, Navarrette allegedly consented to another breath test, which at 3 a.m. showed him to have a blood alcohol content of between 0.147% and 0.144%.

While officers were giving Navarrette the second breath test, the sergeant notified the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office of the arrest. A PCSO captain said he would report the information and asked the sergeant to tell Navarrette that he would need to call his sergeant at PCSO and inform him of the arrest.

Navarrette was then cited and released to an Uber driver that his girlfriend called for him.


Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.