Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy resigns after DUI arrest

A deputy for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office resigned Wednesday after a DUI arrest Tuesday night, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Morris Valenzuela, 38, was on unpaid administrative leave at the time of his arrest for an unrelated internal investigation, the release said. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office declined to comment further on the investigation.

Deputies said that around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Valenzuela veered off the road while traveling northbound on Interstate 275 and struck a sound barrier on the side of the highway. When deputies arrived at the crash site, they saw Valenzuela arguing with a passenger and said they noticed “signs of injury.”

related: Pinellas school resource officer fired for alleged DUI in cruiser

Deputies performed a breath alcohol test on Valenzuela, with breath alcohol levels of 0.146 and 0.149, the news release said. Florida law assumes an impairment level of 0.08.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a news conference: “It was completely irresponsible for one of our deputies to drive while under the influence of alcohol, taking the occupants of the vehicle and The lives of others on the road are at risk.” “It is unseemly and a violation of his oath to protect and serve that this deputy is under investigation and still chooses to make this poor decision.”

related: Tampa cop loses job after dragging woman to jail

Valenzuela was being held in the Hillsborough County Jail Tuesday night for DUI causing property damage. He was released Wednesday morning after posting an unspecified amount of bond, according to jail records.

After Valenzuela’s arrest, another internal affairs investigation was launched and he resigned as a result.

Valenzuela served as Hillsborough County Councilman for four years. He was assigned to the Detention Service.