A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputy resigned Wednesday after he was arrested Tuesday night on a DUI charge, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Morris Valenzuela, 38, was on administrative leave without pay for an unrelated internal investigation at the time of the arrest, the news release states. A sheriff’s office spokesperson declined to say more about that investigation.
At about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Valenzuela ran off the road while driving north on Interstate 275 and hit the noise barrier on the side of the highway, deputies said. When deputies arrived at the crash, they saw Valenzuela arguing with a passenger and said they noticed “signs of impairment.”
Deputies gave Valenzuela a Breathalyzer test, the news release states, which showed a breath alcohol content of .146 and .149. Florida law presumes impairment at a level of .08.
“It is completely irresponsible for one of our deputies to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated, he placed the lives of those in the vehicle and others on the road in danger,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in the news release. “The fact that this deputy was under investigation, and still chose to make this poor decision, is unbecoming and violates the oath he took, to protect and serve.”
Valenzuela was booked at the Hillsborough County jail Tuesday night on a charge of DUI with property damage. He was released Wednesday morning after he posted an unspecified bail amount, according to jail records.
Another internal affairs investigation was launched after Valenzuela’s arrest, and he resigned.
Valenzuela has worked as a Hillsborough County deputy for four years. He was assigned to the Department of Detention Services.