HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Hillsborough County deputy has resigned after he was arrested for driving while under the influence.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, while on administrative leave without pay, Deputy Morris Valenzuela, 38, was driving northbound on I-275 when he ran off the side of the road striking the noise barrier on the east side of the interstate.
When HCSCO deputies arrived on the scene, they found Valenzuela and a passenger arguing. While investigating the crash, deputies noticed both Valenzuela and the passenger showed signs of impairment.
Authorities said that Valenzuela consented to a breathalyzer test. The deputy had a breath alcohol content of 0.146 and 0.149. The legal limit is 0.08 in Florida. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence with property damage or personal injury.
“It is completely irresponsible for one of our deputies to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, he placed the lives of those in the vehicle and others on the road in danger,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “The fact that this deputy was under investigation, and still chose to make this poor decision, is unbecoming and violates the oath he took, to protect and serve.”
As a result of Valenzuela’s DUI arrest, an internal affairs investigation was initiand and the deputy resigned from the sheriff’s office.
According to HCSO, deputy Valenzuela worked at the sheriff’s office for four years. He was assigned to the Department of Detention Services, and at the time of his arrest was on administrative leave without pay “due to an unrelated internal affairs investigation.”