School board president charged with DWI

San Benito trustee faces Class B misdemeanor

SAN BENITO — San Benito school board President Michael Vargas is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated.

The Class B misdemeanor stems from an incident in which Harlingen police apparently found Vargas sleeping behind the wheel of his car outside a fast-food restaurant at about 2 a.m. July 5, according to a police report.

Later that day, Vargas, who was arraigned before Municipal Court Judge Arturo Saenz, was released from the city jail after posting $2,000 bail.

Tuesday, he did not respond to a message requesting comment.

Vargas, 32, was arrested after he refused to perform a field sobriety test, according to the police report.

According to the report, Officer Arnoldo Maldonado responded to a Taco Bell restaurant at 1518 N. Ed Carey Drive after a witness reported “a male was sleeping behind the wheel of a black passenger vehicle.”

Maldonado described Vargas as displaying signs of intoxication.

Vargas was “displaying red blood-shot eyes and slurred speech,” Maldonado wrote.

“I also detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage from his breath,” he wrote.

Signs of intoxication led Maldonado to request Vargas perform a field sobriety test.

“The male subject refused to perform the (test),” Maldonado wrote. “The male subject was deemed operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated and was placed under arrest for driving while intoxicated.”

Tuesday at the police department, spokesman Larry Moore said DWI cases are turned over to the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, which reviews the cases before assigning court dates.

Vargas, who was elected to the school board’s Place 1 seat in May 2015, has served as the board’s president since May 2017.

Last year, he won re-election to the term expiring in 2021.