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Pinellas sheriff's deputy resigns hours after DUI arrest in Naples

Published Jul. 21, 2016

Times Staff Writer

A Pinellas sheriff's deputy who was fired from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office on suspicion of driving while impaired eight years ago resigned Saturday after being accused once again of driving under the influence in Naples, authorities said.

Jose Javier Berrios-Collazo, 33, was arrested about 2 a.m. Saturday, according to a report from the Collier County Sheriff's Office. A Collier deputy said Berrios-Collazo may have been speeding in a black Jeep.

The Jeep was pulled over. Deputies at the scene said they could smell alcohol in the car, and Berrios-Collazo slurred his words when he spoke. His eyes were glassy, according to the report, and he failed field sobriety tests. He refused to take a breath test, deputies said.

A deputy also found loose marijuana and a glass pipe in the Jeep, according to the report. Collier deputies said they could not determine if it belonged to Berrios-Collazo or a passenger, so they did not arrest either on drug charges.

Hours after his arrest, Berrios-Collazo resigned from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. He declined to comment on Thursday. He joined the agency in June 2012.

In 2008, while he was a Pasco deputy, Berrios-Collazo was stopped in Tarpon Springs when a Pinellas sheriff's sergeant spotted him speeding at 98 miles per hour and weaving in traffic. The sergeant did not investigate Berrios-Collazo for DUI, though, and no charges were filed.

Nevertheless, the Pasco sheriff later fired Berrios-Collazo.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Did deputy show favoritism to fellow lawmen?

CLEARED: Deputies return to duty after fatal shooting

In 2014 he was one of two Pinellas deputies who fired their guns at a knife-wielding man who authorities said lunged at Berrios-Collazo. The man died, and Berrios-Collazo and the other deputy were both cleared to return to duty.

Contact Zachary T. Sampson at zsampson@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Follow @ZackSampson.

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