BROWNFIELD, Texas (KCBD) - A Brownfield police officer was arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 4 charged with tampering with physical evidence, based on an incident that happened back on June 29.
Brownfield police say she was off-duty at the time of the incident.
According to the probable cause affidavit, a Terry County Sheriff’s Office deputy was called to the scene of a rollover on County Road 290 in Terry County on June 29, 2020.
The deputy reported a Suburban was flipped over about 20 yards off of the highway and a Dodge Charger was on the scene as well.
A paramedic was speaking to the passenger in the Dodge Charger.
The affidavit says Brownfield Police Officer Perla Depoyster, 35, was on the scene of the crash. Depoyster told the deputy the passenger in her vehicle, the Dodge Charger, was 38-year-old Angel Rojas. He was the driver of the Suburban. Depoyster said the Rojas was injured but didn’t want to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. As the deputy was talking to the paramedic, he saw the Dodge Charger leave the crash scene. The deputy noted in the affidavit he never gave Depoyster permission to leave the scene.
After Depoyster and Rojas left the scene, Texas Highway Patrol troopers arrived to investigate the crash.
After the deputy collected statements from various witnesses on the scene, Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies check to see if Rojas had been admitted to the emergency room for his injuries. A nurse told investigators he never arrived at the hospital for treatment.
On July 3, 2020, Troopers interviewed two people who helped Rojas after he crashed his vehicle. One witness told the investigator Rojas pushed his vehicle off the road just before the crash. After Rojas passed the witness’ vehicle, he stopped at the end of the road. About five minutes later, the witness said Rojas began chasing another vehicle on CR 290. The witness said Rojas over-corrected the Suburban, lost control and flipped into a field.
The witness went to the flipped vehicle and found Rojas’s arm was pinned under the SUV. He also told investigators Rojas’ eyes were “bloodshot.” After a few minutes, Rojas began looking for his phone to call a person. While on the phone, Rojas asked the witness what road he was on and kept telling the person on the phone to hurry up and get out there, according to the affidavit.
After he got off the phone, he began yelling about his hand.
Another witness came to help Rojas. The two witnesses used a jack to lift the Suburban off of his hand.
Once his hand was free, he began calling the unknown person again, telling them to hurry. The witness said a Hispanic woman arrived and Rojas got into her vehicle.
The witnesses left the scene but later in the day, they drove back and saw what appeared to be whiskey or gin bottles in the ditch.
The second witness reported Rojas called his ex-wife several times, and that is who arrived on the scene. The ex-wife has been identified as Officer Depoyster. The witness also told Troopers when he was trying to free Rojas’ hand, he could “smell something sweet,” like Rojas had been drinking.
Officials had not charged Rojas with a traffic or alcohol violation before he was killed in a crash on July 4, 2020.
The crash happened on US 380, 2 miles east of Gomez.
DPS Troopers say the driver of another vehicle veered into his lane and crashed head-on into Rojas’ vehicle. Both Rojas and the driver of the other vehicle died in the crash. Rojas was not wearing a seatbelt. The other driver was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
Perla Depoyster was booked into the Terry County Jail on Aug. 4 and was released after posting a $5,000 bond. She is being charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. The affidavit says probable cause exists that Depoyster intentionally, and knowing that an offense has been committed, alters, destroys or conceals any record, document, or thing with intent to impair its verity, legibility, or availability as evidence in any or subsequent information. This offense is a 3rd Degree Felony.
The Texas Rangers are conducting the investigation.