Former deputy charged with DUI

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

Former Butler County Sheriff's deputy Keith Everette Hall, 24, of Greenville was arrested and charged with driving under the influence around 5:30 p.m. Monday following an incident early Thursday morning behind the Boys and Girls Club of Greenville.

Hall, who was off duty and driving a marked sheriff's patrol car, drove onto the playground area behind the Boys and Girls Club, through a chain link fence and then across the yard of a residence on 124 Grant Street before running over a fire hydrant around 1 a.m. Thursday, according to a Greenville Police report.

The vehicle was later found &#8220totaled” on Cunningham Street, and Hall was found outside of the vehicle &#8220extremely intoxicated and unaware of what happened.”

&#8220When officers responded they found the car and then found Hall walking up the road with his service weapon in his hand,” Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said. &#8220They approached him and wound up getting his weapon.”

While the officers on the scene said Hall was intoxicated, the officers did not administer a breath test or a field sobriety test on the scene.

&#8220At the time he was in such a disoriented state that even though they knew he had been drinking they felt he needed to get medical attention based on the damage done to the car,” Ingram said. &#8220It was obvious (to the officers) he was drunk. Everybody on the scene knew he was drunk.”

Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris was called to the scene and accompanied Hall to L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital.

&#8220I requested that a blood test and a drug test be drawn,” Harris said. &#8220The doctor informed me then that the state would have to request that, and I informed him that I was the sheriff, (Hall) was one of my deputies and he was inside one of the county vehicles. And I still don't know if they did or did not get a (blood-alcohol level).”

Harris said that she fired Hall, who had been employed with the Butler County Sheriff's office less than a year, on the scene of the accident. Harris also made a request to the Butler County Commission that the damages not be filed on the county's insurance. She said that Hall will be charged for the damages for the replacement of the vehicle.

&#8220I do not tolerate such mess as this,” she said. &#8220They have been warned several times about drinking in public -whether on or off duty - and not to be out in Butler County period in an intoxicated condition, let alone in a deputy's car.”

Hall, who turned himself in Monday afternoon, was released on a $1,000 bond that night. His court date is at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 19.

&#8220The public needs to know when it's necessary to take action, we take it,” Ingram said. &#8220Just because he's a member of law enforcement, he's not above the law. The same rules apply to him as they do to other people.”

The arrest comes more than a month after a Butler County investigator quit and another deputy was arrested and charged with a felony count of intimidating a witness and a misdemeanor count of obstructing governmental operations.

So, does Harris worry about a possible negative perception about the Butler County Sheriff's Office?

&#8220I can't help what these people do,” Harris said. &#8220All I can do is do what I feel best and that's fire them, get rid of them.”