CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – According to an article appearing in Florida Today, Candrea Thomas, one of NASA’s public affairs officers at the KSC press site, was arrested last week by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on felony charges stemming from her alleged attempts to cover up a 2006 DUI conviction.
To conceal the DUI charge, Thomas is accused of using her personal printer to produce a forged driver’s license. She then allegedly used this document to operate government vehicles. Thomas was arrested at Kennedy Space Center at 5 p.m. on Dec. 20 and was back to work the very next day (Thomas posted a $10,000 bond to be released).
Thomas, 38, was charged with five third-degree felony charges of forgery involving public records.
Given the serious nature of the charges against her, the concern has been raised as to why she was allowed to return to work so quickly.
When astronaut Lisa Nowak was arrested on charges she attacked her romantic rival on Feb. 5, 2007—a little over a month after the incident, on March 8 of that year—NASA ended its relationship with her. However, the fact that Nowak was an astronaut made her dismissal from NASA simpler than dismissing a non-astronaut.
Nowak was attached to NASA through the U.S. Navy. NASA did not need to wait for Nowak to be convicted before terminating her position with the space agency. Thomas, as a civil servant, is far more difficult to terminate. However, given the fact that Thomas was convicted of a DUI in 2006, a fact she apparently kept from NASA, it is unclear why this was not used as grounds for her dismissal.
Both Thomas and NASA have refused to comment on her arrest or the charges against her. A court date has yet to be assigned to Thomas. If convicted she faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.