Fort Worth

Trooper testifies that ex-Fort Worth cop almost hit another vehicle on I-30

Note: This story has been changed to reflect the fact that Henderson did not take a breath test or a blood test when he was arrested.

Former Fort Worth police Maj. Paul Henderson was driving so erratically that another vehicle had to swerve to avoid a wreck on the night Henderson was arrested on suspicion of DWI, a state trooper testified Tuesday.

Trooper Daniel Walker said that Henderson was switching lanes on Interstate 30 and almost hit the other vehicle before the trooper pulled him over shortly before 2 a.m.

Within a week of Henderson’s arrest on Dec. 1, 2012, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead demoted Henderson to captain, and fired him in May 2013.

If convicted, Henderson, 48, asked that Parker County Court-at-Law Judge Jerry Buckner sentence him. The maximum sentence is 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000.

Henderson’s attorneys tried to keep the six-person jury from hearing the trooper testify about almost everything Henderson said to him. Buckner denied the motion.

Jurors saw a video that showed Henderson stumbling repeatedly as he responded to Walker’s commands during a field sobriety test.

Walker testified that Henderson initially said he had not been drinking. Later, he said he had had one beer and after that said he had had one beer and taken trazodone, an anti-anxiety medication used to treat depression, the trooper said.

Walker said he asked Henderson to take a breath test and suggested that he also give a blood sample. Henderson agreed to the breath test but never took one, and he refused the blood sample.

“I thought the blood sample would be better suited to him since he had taken the medication,” Walker said.

Henderson was a supervisor over several divisions in the Fort Worth Police Department, including internal affairs, the division assigned to investigate officers accused of unlawful behavior.

Four witnesses testified Monday that Henderson had been drinking the night of Nov. 30, 2012, but did not appear to be drunk when they last saw him.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3