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WORKER CHARGED IN CRASH AT JAIL

A Pinellas County jail employee was arrested Wednesday after the Sheriff's Office said she crashed through a jail fence while driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Diane Ferron, 42, is an assistant inmate records supervisor at the jail. She has been a civilian employee of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office for 20 years.

Deputies said she was leaving work when the crash took place about 11:11 a.m. Wednesday. She left the back parking lot of the jail and was driving her personal vehicle along a perimeter road outside the facility at 14400 49th St. N.

Then Ferron lost control of her vehicle and plowed through the jail's exterior chain-link fence, deputies said. Ferron was wearing her seat belt and was not hurt.

When deputies arrived, they noted that she appeared to be impaired, according to the Sheriff's Office. But they ruled out alcohol. Instead, she appeared to have been using "a chemical or controlled substance," according to the Sheriff's Office. According to a sheriff's report, Ferron said she had taken prescription medication.

Ferron also failed field sobriety tests, the report said. She was arrested on charges of misdemeanor DUI and misdemeanor DUI with property damage. Sheriff's spokeswoman Cecelia Barreda said that because the charges are misdemeanors, Ferron will be allowed to return to work pending an internal inquiry.

Ferron was being held in the county jail late Wednesday in lieu of $1,000 bail.

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