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Fire chief arrested for drunk driving at end of career

At the end of an illustrious career, a person may dream of leaving the position with some honor and dignity. It is a time to look back with pride on accomplishments and contributions that may benefit the industry for years to come. Colleagues may throw a party, and the public may even offer expressions of gratitude and congratulations at this bittersweet moment. For one Tennessee public servant, however, the exit may be more bitter than sweet following his drunk driving arrest.

Police apparently received a call from a citizen that a driver was drinking alcohol behind the wheel. Responding officers claimed to have witnessed the man, who was the chief of the city fire department, make an illegal U-turn, and when they made a traffic stop, they allegedly found a bottle of vodka in the man's vehicle. Reports say there was also mouthwash and toothpaste on the front seat. After the driver supposedly failed field sobriety tests, police arrested him.

After 40 years of service in a local fire department, the chief had already decided to retire sometime in 2018. He began his career as a firefighter and served in many capacities, including fire instructor and captain of the Hazardous Materials Team. After terms leading the special operations and search and rescue teams, he served as chief since 2013. After his DUI arrest, he requested early retirement, which the mayor approved.

At the age of 61, this man likely had other plans for his life than dealing with the consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Even if this is a first offense, he faces mandatory jail time, fines and other penalties. Because of the harshness of Tennessee DUI laws, those facing similar issues would do well to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.

Source: tennessean.com, "Nashville fire chief charged with DUI before announcing retirement", Natalie Allison and Natalie Neysa Alund, Nov. 3, 2017

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