Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Former fire chief jailed

Shane Warner arrested on charges of sexual penetration, embezzlement, among others.


October 11, 2017

Former Tucumcari Fire Chief Shane Warner, 41, is facing eight felony counts, including allegations of sexual penetration in commission of a felony, Quay County magistrate court records show.

Warner is also charged with two counts of intent to distribute controlled substances, three counts of tampering with evidence, one count of extortion and one count of embezzling more than $2,500 but less than $20,000.

Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose declined to comment on Warner's case.

Attempts to reach Warner's defense attorney Daniel Lindsey were not successful.

Warner could not immediately be reached for comment.

Charges were filed against Warner on Oct. 2 in Quay County Magistrate Court and an arrest warrant was issued.

Warner was arrested Oct. 4 and jailed in the Curry County Detention Center but was released Thursday, records show, on an $10,000 bond.

Warner entered no plea on all charges on Thursday, court records show.

The charges against Warner stem from events alleged on March 6.

A woman said she was working at Tucumcari's main fire station and felt ill.

According to a statement from New Mexico State Police Agent Gerardo Hernandez:

• Warner administered Phenergan, a prescription drug used to control nausea and vomiting, to the woman. Then he administered what he called vitamins with a syringe. The woman said Warner would regularly administer anti-nausea drugs to employees who were not feeling well.

• The woman said she then passed out. Warner and the woman's mother said Warner drove the ill woman home and both helped her into the house.

• The next day, the woman visited Arise Medical in Clovis and had a sexual assault exam conducted. Urinalysis test results from the state's forensic laboratory later indicated the presence of Lorazepam/Ativan, a Schedule IV controlled substance, which may be habit-forming, according to the website drugs.com.

• State police obtained a search warrant for Warner's cell phones on March 17. When police were interviewing Warner during an attempt to retrieve the cell phone, Warner denied having the phone. During the interview, however, Warner's cell phone rang. Warner then surrendered the phone.

• Warner told police in that interview that he had administered Phenergan to the woman and drove her home only after failing to reach her mother by phone.

• Further investigation indicated that Warner had stopped giving ambulance employees $10 per-diem payments despite receiving $200 a month from city petty cash funds for that purpose.

• City employees said Warner improperly drove a city vehicle and paid for gasoline with a city credit card for a trip to Lubbock that Warner had said was for personal reasons.

• The city received a bill for $855 for a new roof on a fifth-wheel camper trailer, though the city does not own a camper trailer.

• Warner may have improperly disposed of expired drugs, including Lorazpam, which were later recovered from the Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital.

Warner is scheduled for a preliminary examination 1:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in Quay County Magistrate Court before O'Quinn.

Warner was dismissed from the fire chief's position on March 19. City Manager Jared Langenegger gave no reason for Warner's dismissal.

He was hired as Tucumcari's fire chief on Jan. 27, 2015.

Warner had previously spent 14 years as a professional firefighter in Clovis and three years as a volunteer firefighter.

Warner has achieved the highest-level certification in firefighting skills recognized by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and is a licensed paramedic.

He had just begun a transition to administrative duties as a lieutenant in Clovis after serving as a supervisor.


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