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Hernando sheriff's manager quits; she didn't give drug tests

BROOKSVILLE — The human resources manager at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office has resigned after it was revealed she had failed to conduct the agency's random drug-screening tests for employees for almost two years.

Christine Libengood, 36, who had worked at the Sheriff's Office since 1995, gave notice of her resignation March 18. She had been manager of the human resources department since 2001.

The 22-month lapse in employee drug testing was uncovered when a deputy resigned March 6 after admitting to superiors that he had recently smoked marijuana. Deputy Patrick Craven had been involved in a car crash that day and was given a drug test, which is Sheriff's Office policy.

When advised that a second drug test would be given, Craven declined to take the test and immediately quit the force. There was no indication that Craven was impaired at the time of the crash or during the investigation.

Later, Sheriff Richard Nugent asked Libengood to produce a list of employees who had been tested; policy requires a minimum of 10 percent and a maximum of 25 percent of "safety-sensitive" employees be randomly tested during a fiscal year. Libengood told Nugent that she couldn't come up with a list, sheriff's spokeswoman Donna Black said.

"She couldn't produce one because she hadn't been doing them," Black said Monday.

Black said the department has reviewed the policy and already taken measures to make sure there are no more lapses. She also said supervisors who had concerns about particular employees have always had the ability to conduct random tests.

"We were safeguarded beyond random drug testing," Black said. "Our agency goes above and beyond taking effective measures to make sure the public is safe."

Libengood couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Joel Anderson can be reached at [email protected] or 754-6120.
Man, 23, arrested
in fatal August crash

BROOKSVILLE — A 23-year-old Dade City man faces charges of vehicular homicide and reckless driving stemming from a crash in Citrus County in August that left a construction worker dead and another man seriously injured.

Joshua Church of 32262 Marchmont Circle in Dade City was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol and booked into the Hernando County Jail on Sunday. He remained behind bars Monday in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Authorities said Church plowed through construction barricades while heading north on U.S. 19, near U.S. 98, about 11:45 a.m. Aug. 7. Church's Ford Taurus through orange barrels and hit the two men working behind them.

Christopher Sloan, 37, of Morriston died at the scene. Robert Nell, 30, of Belleview sustained serious injuries. Church was not hurt.

After an FHP investigation, Church was arrested at his home. He also has a warrant in Citrus County on other charges.

Church has been arrested at least four other times in Hernando County. He was found guilty of burglary of a structure in August 2003 and was sentenced to four years' probation.

Hernando sheriff's manager quits; she didn't give drug tests 03/31/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 4, 2008 5:16pm]
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