Shannon Diamond, the 31-year-old assistant director at the Flagler County Youth Center for the past six years, was arrested and jailed late Sunday evening on a charge of drunk driving and refusing to submit to alcohol testing. He bonded out.
The arrest took place on Diamond’s time, not on the school district’s clock, on a day when Diamond was off.
Diamond called in sick on Monday, but was due at work Tuesday, Youth Center Director Cheryl Massaro said. Massaro said there were many unanswered questions regarding Diamond’s status. “I’m trying to figure out what’s best for everybody involved, both my employer and his family,” Massaro said. The Youth Center is run by the Flagler County school district.
“We’ll investigate,” School Superintendent Janet Valentine said, referring to Diamond’s case. “It doesn’t necessarily lead to termination, but certainly he needs to be a role model in our youth center. So I’ll have to investigate and make that determination.”
Valentine had not been aware of Diamond’s arrest until informed by a reporter. She spoke during a break this morning in the Flagler County School Board’s hearing regarding the closure of Heritage Academy, the charter school. Massaro herself was informed of the arrest by Jacob Oliva, the principal at Flagler Palm Coast High School, who gets a report on the weekend’s police activities every Monday. Massaro and Oliva then informed Harriett Holiday, the district’s human resources director.
School employees occasionally face DUI charges. The cases are treated on a case-by-case basis.
Diamond, one of three full-time employees at the youth center (the third is at Carver Gym), “monitors behavior within the youth center,” Massaro said. Being a role model is “part of his responsibility.” Some 80 students on average use the Youth Center on a typical day. The center is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. It also employs four part-time employees. Massaro said Diamond is a good employee. “He’s good with the kids, that’s why he’s here,” the director said.
Diamond was reported at the Kangaroo convenience store Sunday evening just after 9:30 p.m., at the pump, according to a police report. The store clerk told police that an apparently drunk man was trying to buy beer. The clerk refused to sell it. The man then left in his Ford, going north on Old Kings Road and turning onto Royal Palms Parkway toward Belle Terre Parkway. Multiple callers to 911 spoke of a vehicle “all over the road,” according to the police report.
A deputy on Belle Terre saw Diamond’s Ford traveling toward Whiteview Parkway, and entering the intersection at high speed. “The vehicle stopped suddenly in the middle of the intersection, forcing other vehicles to alter speed and direction to avoid a collision,” the police report states. The Ford then turned and went south on Belle Terre instead, accelerating to 55 miles per hour (Belle Terre is a 45). The deputy turned on his police lights. Diamond kept driving, then turned left onto the turning lane for Ponce De Leon Drive, and stopped in the middle of the intersection.
“Upon approaching the vehicle,” the deputy reports, “the male was confused and not responding to commands to put the vehicle into park. I reached into the vehicle and put the vehicle into park and took the keys out of the ignition.” Diamond was in the car by himself. Hi speech was “incoherent, slurred and mumbling,” according to the deputy. “He was unable to form complete coherent sentences.” Diamond was asked to exit the Ford. He was unsteady on his feet and leaned on the car for balance. The cop escorted him by the arm to the sidewalk along Belle Terre, where Diamond would not comply with tests police administer drivers believed to be drunk.
“I love you guys, I just wanna go home,” Diamond said, according to the report. “I live just down the street, I was going home.” Diamond lives at 35 Hembury Lane, near the Woodlands on the opposite side of I-95, a considerable distance from the spot at Belle Terre where he was stopped. As he refused to follow the cop’s directions and started walking away, Diamond was placed under arrest for DUI for his “drunk like behavior, slurred thick speech, uncoordinated behavior and the very strong odor of alcoholic beverages” coming from him.
Once in the back of the patrol car, Diamond again repeated, “I love you guys, I don’t want to mess with you guys,” then tried to open the rear door of the cruiser. When deputies opened the door to loosen one of the cuffs, Diamond tried to leave the cruiser and had to be physically restrained.
At the jail, Diamond provided one sample of his breath, registering 0.251 percent blood alcohol content. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08 percent. Deputies asked for samples twice more. Twice, Diamond refused to fully comply, according to the report, blowing small puffs of air instead–not enough to register a result. He also refused to get into jail clothes. And he refused to sign the DUI citation.
Diamond was later released on $2,000 bail. His vehicle was towed from Belle Terre by John’s Towing.