SAN ANTONIO --
San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus revealed for the first time on Friday how many drinks 31-year-old Christopher Baldaramos is said to have consumed before driving the wrong way on Interstate 35 and colliding head-on with Officer Stephanie Brown on March 15.
The early morning accident also claimed Baldaramos' life just one day before his 32nd birthday.
"The investigation is still ongoing, but I think it's important the public understand how much alcohol was consumed in this case," McManus said. "It was a lot of beer, a lot of alcohol."
According to McManus, Baldaramos started drinking at the first bar at about 6 p.m. and was cut off by servers at about 11 p.m. after downing 13 pints of beer. One pint is 16 ounces, four more than a standard can or bottle.
McManus said Baldaramos then went to a second bar where he drank three more beers before crashing into Brown just after 2 a.m.
Based on what the chief said, that means Baldaramos drank 16 beers in 8 hours, a total of nearly two gallons of beer.
Investigators haven't released Baldaramos' blood alcohol content yet, but based on what McManus said, and using a BAC calculator available online, it's likely he was two times over the legal limit for a man his size.
As Fiesta nears, officials have already declared the 10-day party will be a No Refusal period. Anyone suspected of driving drunk will be subject to mandatory blood draws if they refuse to cooperate with officers.
"We want everyone to come into town and have a great time, but we want everyone to do it responsibly and not get behind the wheel if you've been drinking," McManus said.
McManus has promised beefed up drunken driving patrols to cut down on impaired driving, but at the same time, he said he's also worried federal grant money used for those patrols could soon be cut by Congress.
"I've been told that we're not going to lose it. I've been told it is on the table, so we'll have to wait and see what happens but it is a concern," McManus said. "About 30 to 40 percent of our DWI arrests are attributed to that STEP grant money."
According to McManus, the investigation into the fatal accident remains active. San Antonio police detectives are working closely with agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which is investigating the two bars where Baldaramos drank.
McManus has refused to name those establishments until the investigation is complete. Depending on what investigators find, the bars and their employees could face fines and possibly lose their liquor licenses.
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