NAPLES, Fla. (WINK) – A Collier County deputy walked out of jail on Tuesday morning after he was arrested for causing a crash on Collier Boulevard near Pine Ridge Road Monday afternoon, authorities said — it was his second DUI arrest as a deputy.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Scott Russell was on duty and driving a marked vehicle when he swerved and struck another car that was in a turning lane at 4 p.m., according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Barbara Erickson said Russell ran into her car as she was stopped at a red light.
“I was stopped. The light was red. Glanced up at my rear view mirror and all of a sudden I saw the cop car barreling,” Erickson said. “But I didn’t even have time to think ’cause he hit me.”
Erickson said she went to check on Russell but the deputy seemed disoriented.
“The cop rolled down the window and we were like ‘Are you okay?’ He was like ‘Yeah, okay,’” she said.
Russell’s speech was “slurred and thick-tongued,” according to a CCSO crash report. When he exited his car to speak with a deputy, Russell nearly fell, CCSO said.
This wasn’t the first time deputies caught Russell drinking. He was “unable to keep his balance” and had “the moderate odor of an alcoholic beverage” when he was arrested in July 2002 as rookie deputy with CCSO, according to arrest records.
He took a sobriety test at the scene of his accident in 2002. records show. But on Monday while at the hospital, the deputy refused a field sobriety test and blood tests, CCSO said.
Russell was taken to the hospital, treated and released Monday evening after crashing the CCSO car, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was arrested on DUI charges on Monday and placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Erickson said Russell, a 15-year veteran of CCSO, failed to do his job.
“They’re supposed to be protecting us from drunk drivers,” she said.
No injuries were reported from the accident. CCSO has not responded to questions about Russell’s employment following his 2002 arrest.