Idaho Deputy Charged with DUI After Crashing Into Pole On Duty
HOMEDALE (KTVB) -- An Owyhee County Sheriff's deputy has been charged with DUI after police say he slammed his official vehicle into a power pole while drunk.
Deputy Kyle T. Pearson resigned from the sheriff's office after he was charged.
The crash happened in Owyhee County on May 14 at about 6:30 a.m. while Pearson was on duty.
Homedale Police Chief Jeff Eidemiller, who responded to the crash, said Pearson at first denied being under the influence of alcohol, blaming the wreck on a "coughing fit."
"He said it distracted him and he drove off the roadway," Eidemiller said.
Pearson was not hurt in the crash, but the impact broke the power pole. The crash also damaged the fender of Pearson's marked 2008 Chevy Silverado, but the vehicle was still drivable, the police chief said.
A blood test revealed the deputy's blood alcohol content to be .110, well above Idaho's legal limit of .08. Pearson was driven home and issued a summons.
Eidemiller said that while DUI suspects are often arrested, it is not unheard of to take people home and wait until blood test results are complete to charge them. Homedale Police is investigating to avoid a conflict of interest with the sheriff's office.
Owyhee County Sheriff Perry Grant and Prosecutor Douglas Emery could not immediately be reached for comment.
Pearson has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor DUI. He is set for trial before Judge Dan Grober in September.
Eidemiller called the incident "very unfortunate" and said it was the first time in his decades-long police career that he has responded to an on-duty law enforcement officer driving under the influence.
"I'm just thankful it was just a power pole, and nobody was injured," he said.