Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Public safety

Hernando deputy returns to patrol duty after internal inquiry clears him in DUI case

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County sheriff's deputy arrested on a DUI charge earlier this year is back on patrol duty.

Deputy Joseph Tibor, 46, returned to duty Tuesday after an internal inquiry found he violated no agency policies or procedures, the Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

A Florida Highway Patrol corporal arrested Tibor on Jan. 12 after stopping him on State Road 50 west of Brooksville.

According to Cpl. David Frye's report, Tibor had alcohol on his breath and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot.

Frye wrote that Tibor said he had "maybe five drinks" and performed poorly on field sobriety exercises.

A Hernando deputy who stopped and witnessed two of the three exercises said Tibor performed well and did not smell of alcohol.

Tibor refused to provide a breath sample at the Hernando County Detention Center.

Two deputies at the jail said he seemed steady on his feet and did not smell of alcohol.

An FHP sergeant at the jail said Tibor smelled strongly of alcohol and that his eyes were bloodshot and watery.

The video recorder in the breath test room failed to record an interview with Tibor.

Prosecutors decided not to pursue a DUI charge because of conflicting witness accounts and a lack of evidence, but Tibor's future with the Sheriff's Office remained in doubt because of the one-year driver's license suspension mandated by state law for refusing to give a breath sample.

Three weeks later, a hearing officer reinstated Tibor's license after ruling there wasn't enough evidence to show that Frye had probable cause to suspect he was driving under the influence.

Tibor, who had been on paid leave, returned to work on restricted duty pending the outcome of the internal inquiry.

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