By Shawn Stinson
A former member of the West Virginia State Police is facing DUI charges stemming from an incident earlier this month in Randolph County.
Kaja Tenney, 26, is charged with aggravated DUI following an on-duty crash with another vehicle on July 1 in Elkins. Authorities allege Tenney failed several field sobriety tests conducted by a fellow state trooper according to a criminal complaint that was filed with the Randolph County Magistrate Court.
Capt. Robert Maddy, WV State Police Deputy Chief of Staff, said in a July 6 press release that Tenney was formally charged the following day and was also “separated from employment” with the department on the same day. Maddy declined to state if Tenney was fired or resigned from the department. He added no additional comment would be released regarding Tenney’s employment.
Sgt. D.W. Burge wrote in the complaint he was investigating a crash on U.S. Route 219 when he located a 2017 Ford Explorer on South Kerens Avenue in Elkins that matched the description and damage of the vehicle suspected in the crash. Burge added he approached the driver, later identified as Tenney, who appeared to be disoriented and had a strong odor of alcohol coming from her breath. Tenney was also alleged to be staggering while walking and having slurred speech. The Explorer was Tenney’s state-issued vehicle.
Burge performed a preliminary breath test on Tenney and later initiated a horizonal gaze nystagmus test. Burge wrote Tenney failed both tests. He added Tenney was offered “one-leg stand” and “walk and turn” tests which she refused according to the complaint.
Tenny was later read the West Virginia implied consent statement by Burge and signed the form. Burge waited approximately 20 minutes and initiated a secondary breath test. Burge wrote Tenney failed the test by registering a .377 blood alcohol content reading. A driver in West Virginia may be charged with a DUI with a .08 BAC reading. A driver with a BAC reading of .15 or higher may be charged with aggravated DUI.