Sheriff’s deputy placed on leave after alcohol stop

A Mesa County Sheriff’s Department deputy who was cited on suspicion of an alcohol-related driving offense while off duty has been placed on paid administrative leave, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said Thursday.

Deputy Scott Smith, 39, was notified of the change in status Wednesday afternoon, which was after deputies involved in an internal investigation focusing on Smith’s case were informed by the Colorado State Patrol of the results of Smith’s blood draw, a test designed to determine levels of intoxication, Benjamin said.

While he declined to specify the results, State Patrol Sgt. John Hahn said the test showed a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.08 percent,

Colorado’s threshold for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Smith had been restricted from driving on the job since he was issued a summons March 19, Benjamin said. Smith is employed as a detention deputy whose duties occasionally involve transporting prisoners between facilities.

Smith was cited March 19 on suspicion of misdemeanor driving while ability impaired by alcohol or drugs, plus failure to obey a traffic-control device.

Smith was driving a Jeep that was stopped around 2 a.m. by a trooper who said he observed the Jeep disregard a stop sign near E 1/2 Road and 32 Road, before continuing onto the Interstate 70 Business Loop.

Smith elected to have his blood drawn and was released to a sober driver, authorities said.

Smith is one of three deputies whose off-duty behavior is the focus of an internal investigation.

He’s scheduled to appear today for arraignment at the Mesa County Justice Center.


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