KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knox County Sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on suspicion of DUI, according to a release from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
Officer Sean McElyea was arrested by the Knoxville Police Department on Friday night. The next day, he was placed paid administrative leave by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. KCSO is conducting an internal investigation into his arrest, a spokesman said.
Around 3:48 a.m., Knoxville Police responded to an single-car accident on Alcoa Highway near I-40E where the Toyota truck severely damaged a guardrail, according to KPD.
McElyea told the officer the vehicle belonged to him. According to the report, McElyea admitted to having left a downtown bar.
The responding officer said McElyea smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and blood shot, watery eyes.
KPD said a receipt found in his pocket confirmed five drinks were purchased from the bar. McElyea refused to consent to a field sobriety test, and according to the report he implied that he was unable to perform the test because of his intoxication level.
He also refused to consent to blood or breath testing, according to KPD.
KPD said a search warrant for blood testing was obtained, and McElyea was taken to UT Medical Center for blood testing.
“I always try to instill in our officers that we must hold ourselves accountable and to a higher standard. When I learned of Officer McElyea being arrested for DUI after a single vehicle accident, I was highly disappointed,” Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said. “We have a process for misconduct through the Merit System council, which includes due process. I want to be clear that we expect our employees to obey the laws just as any citizen is expected to and our policies and procedures. Any conduct unbecoming will be dealt with according to our policies, procedures and the laws of the state of Tennessee.”
McElyea is currently assigned to the KCSO’s juvenile transportation division. He began working for the sheriff’s office in September 2015.
Earlier this week, two officers with Knoxville Police Department were arrested on DUI charges in two separate incidents.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with additional information.