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Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputy Diego Morales Jailed on DUI and Charge

| March 30, 2011

flagler county sheriff's office police badge A little more than two weeks after a Flagler County sheriff’s deputy placed a Flagler Beach police officer under arrest for drunk driving, a Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s deputy was arrested Wednesday afternoon by the Florida Highway Patrol on a drunk driving charge in connection with a traffic accident that occurred in December.

Diego Morales, 31, was booked into the Flagler County jail with an additional charge of driving with bodily injury. (An earlier version of this story, based on sheriff’s office information, had noted a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury. The sheriff’s office has since corrected that error in a subsequent release.)

Morales also was cited for careless driving. He was booked into the jail shortly after 4 p.m. He was released after posting $500 bail on the two charges.

“Obviously we are disappointed with the deputy’s conduct. This is an FHP case, so we will not be commenting further on the incident,” said Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming.

Morales, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office since September 2002, is on paid administrative leave. An internal affairs investigation also will be completed.

On March 12, a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy arrested Flagler Beach Patrolman Brett Smith, 31, when the officer was found passed out in a vehicle in Daytona North.

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21 Responses for “Flagler County Sheriff’s Deputy Diego Morales Jailed on DUI and Charge”

  1. Sandy Peterson says:

    PAID LEAVE??????? Are you kidding me? FIRED, that’s what he deserves. Lost any credibility as a law enforcement officer. What’s to investigate. If it was me, my butt would be in jail, license suspended, etc. I certainly wouldn’t be paid for something like that.

  2. just a citizen says:

    Curious why it took 4+ months for FHP to charge him….?
    Due process SP….did you ever hear of that…I think it’s in the constitution. Even someone like yourself who is so quick to hang someone would be given the opportunity to defend yourself before being found guilty… I’m sure that your employer…that is if you work, would let this play out before rendering a decision to fire you. If the deputy is guilty then he’ll be held reponsible for his actions…until then let the system work.

  3. More Amazed Every Day says:

    Yes, there is due process, however, why are we paying him to sit at home. He is an officer of the law, he left the scene of an accident and continued to put others in danger while driving under the influence!!!! Wow. I do have a job and anytime ANYONE is suspended from their job here it is WITHOUT pay and we are not officers of the law! Being an officer of the law, they are held to higher level of expectation. If they don’t agree to it, then they should not take the position. They are the ones that enforce the laws with everyone else, that does not exempt them from following them. I do not agree with the fact that they continue to collect a paycheck while being suspended themselves.

  4. Kurt says:

    morons, it is paid leave unttil the facts of the case are in. in this country you are innocent until proven guilty. they get pay while they r on suspension so that if he is found innocent later they can say they did everythin by the book and that might stop him from being able to file a lawsuit. he did not do this on duty either. but if he is found to be guilty he will probably be fired. which he probablyy should.

  5. just a citizen says:

    You are correct that police officer’s are held to a highter standard, and I agree, they should be.
    He is being held to a higher standard he will probably loose his job regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges….where you or I… would probably not. If this happend to either you or I…our boss or company might not even know…our job would most likly not be in jepordy, I know of several people who have made poor choices and got behind the wheel intoxicated and still kept thier jobs.
    I am sure that where you work, as where I work, you can be suspended with or without pay, depending on whether the the suspension is for disipline reasons or investagative reasons. This investigation is seperate from the criminal charge’s. Most company’s, police or otherwise, follow this type of policy. If the officer is found to be guilty through the IA, regardless of the criminal charges, I’m sure he will pay the ultimate price, the end of his career, as he should because he is held to a higher standard.

  6. Brad Weir says:

    The info that he left the scene is erroneous. No fault of the reporter but perhaps an update with the correct info is in order.

    just a citizen, In a case involving a DUI accident and the person is injured to the point they can not perform the standard field sobriety tests, blood is drawn and the charges are held pending the outcome of the blood test.

  7. Abstract thinking says:

    I’m not sure but I thought the Americans with Disabilities Act covered employees with Alcohol and Substance Abuse problems, and the employer is required by Federal Law to make accomodations and require them to enter a treatment/ rehabilitation program to address their use, and then allow them to keep their jobs if they comply with the conditions outlined in their treatment plan. Of course if the employee refuses to enter treatment/rehab and/or to comply with the treatment plan and ongoing counseling and random drug testing for the defined period, then of course there would be no requirement for the employer to keep the employee. I know for a fact large companies do not typically terminate employees for “suspected” drug use for this very reason. The employer bears the financial burden of treatment and rehab, so most companies fire the person for some other non-substance related reason in order to avoid the ADA issue.

  8. angry citizen says:

    This is not the first time this officer has been in trouble. A good friend of mine is a police officer in flagler beach and told me that this deputy pushed an on duty officer at the old finnegans when he was off duty drunk. Im hearing that the on duty officer asked morales to leave and he refused. this was documented he told me but he only got ONE day suspension. It seems that he has a history of drinking and maybe the sheriffs office should try to get some of their deputies help and not sweep things under the rug. Its a shame either way you look at it.

  9. just a citizen says:

    Understood Brad… …still was wondering what took 4 months…..blood test results are pretty quick, it is the 21st century. I’m thinking it took that long for the leagal system to actually issue a warrant.

  10. Brad Weir says:

    With all due respect ‘angry citizen’, the fact that it is reported here and elsewhere and that we are commenting on it means it was not swept under the rug.

  11. Kurt says:

    exactly brad. wouldnt people rather thee investigation take 4 months than rush the outcome and maybe make a mistake? whats the issue angry citizen? its not like its a mass murderer thats on the loose. this guy will get his, dont fret.

  12. Haw Creek Girl says:

    Lady Justice will take care of all his DUI and legality issues but if the Sheriff is going to spend him without pay. Actually, the way I see it they should him work but only at a desk job where he wouldn’t drive a car or have arrest powers, etc…just a paper pusher.

  13. honkey dude says:

    shame on everyone.
    the one you call for protection.
    you shun and turn your back to, at a time that he’s in trouble.
    What if he had done that to you?
    when you called and needed anything
    ???????
    Hmmmmmm??????

  14. Brad Weir says:

    honkey dude,

    I can only imagine that those here who shun him are the epitome of perfection.

    Here is a thought… Many law enforcement officers are prior military. You know, those people we don’t hear much about who leave families behind to do a job for their country and when one dies it’s a small paragraph in the back of the paper.
    We flew flags for them for a little while from anywhere we could mount one remember that? Heck I remember that month like it was ten years ago.. Where was I, oh, alot of them come home wanting to remain in a public service type job as it is their “calling”. So quite a few become cops and learn how disheartening it can be to deal with the everyday behavior of American Citizens the very citizens who hailed them as heros while they served overseas but that all changes when they come home and pin a badge on. A hero now reduced to..just a doughnut eating pig. They can do many great things during their career but are never remembered for a single one. Only when there is a screw up do people remember. I heard a cop say once that he should have been a fireman..”everybody loves the fireman.”

    53 law enforcement officers have died on U.S. streets in three months. I think it may be safer in Afghanistan. Yeah right. Wait can it? Well let’s see since 2001, 1,408 service men and women made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.
    How many law enforcement officers have died on the job in our own country since 2001? 1,564.
    Shocking isn’t it? We’re not a country in turmoil, there is no civil unrest here…(not yet anyway) how could this be? Perhaps better to not know and stay in the comfort zone that is ignorance. Our Governor seems to like it there.

    Got off on a little rant but back to the deputy surely his employment holds him to a higher standard and as someone pointed out, had this happened to a private sector employee there’s a chance the boss may never have found out nor would it likely make the evening news, be in the paper, or in articles on websites such as this one. Aside from whatever punishment there is, the aforementioned results also in ridicule. His own doing yes but he is human and as such we can not expect absolute perfection. I’m sure he feels he let people down and perhaps this is his wake up call.

  15. rick peterson says:

    just a clarification. the sandy peterson above is not the wife of chgo rick. we respect and honor the pd off-duty or on and yeah i’ve been there and done it so i can walk the walk.

  16. just a citizen says:

    Well said, BW

  17. Romero Lawrence says:

    I’ve knew Diego in school and that guy was always solid. Everyone makes mistakes and this one isn’t one of the worst. I’ll wager that he’s done way more good for this community than this DUI arrest should erase. As far as some other off duty incident where he got into it at a bar, who cares? It happens.

    Trust me, the law enforcement community will be no better off for a “hang’em high” mentality. If he’s still the same guy I knew in school, Diego will go out of his way to take this lesson to heart and make amends.

    The commenter who wrote about the American with Disabilities Act is also correct. FCPD has to let him enter into a rehab if he’s got issues with drugs or alcohol. Not to mention those things attributable to drugs or alcohol should be forgiven upon his successful treatment.

    I personally think the man is a good guy. Not to mention a good cop, who knows the community well. He’s younger and just the type of person you want to learn from these types of situation and continue to protect and serve.

  18. Thomas Rackman says:

    Why make such a big deal about this situation. The officer will pay a lot of fines and receive drug & alcohol counseling. If he is a good cop then he should keep his job. If he is a bad cop, then fire him.
    Since every other substance is illegal, its time to make alcohol illegal again. If not, stop busting people for drinking…Oh thats right, the judicial system makes TONS of money of off others ( including cops ) drinking habits.

  19. HSART says:

    I Dont know Deputy Morales Personally, but Being Retired from Law Enforcement I have Dealt with my Share of Stress, Grief, Horrific Scenes, Not to Mention the Long hours, Paperwork. Constant Updated Training, it Takes a Toll on your Soul and Your Family Life!! Cant for the Life of Understand why this is even an Issue? If the Deputy was Drunk and Driving he will have to do what anyone Else would, Attend Classes and Pay a Fine, if he was not its Dismissed. 8 Years on the Job with 1 incident pushing someone is what “Angry Citizen” somthing that Matches your Name??? and to Miss Peterson, Everyone is Inocent, untill Proven Guilty Right, 8 years this man has been Serving the County You should be Saying Hope all works out and gets the help he needs if thats the Case.You Guys Should not be so fast to Judge someone if You have never Walked in their Shoes!! Pick up the NewsPaper and look at all the arrests, If its Not the Police, Fire, attourney,Doctor or Teacher/Coach You wont here anything about it!! Problem is All you “PERFECT PEOPLE” forget those who Serve are Human Too, Just Like You!! To Dep. Morales and All of our Police and FireFighters, God Bless You for what you Do 24/7, Been there, Done That!!!!!!!!! J.B.O.D./ V.C.D.C./D.B.P.D/F.C.S.O./F.B.P.D.

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