HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy is facing charges of DUI and has resigned from his position.
According to deputies, on Tuesday, December 27, 2022, just after 7:30 p.m., Deputy Morris Valenzuela, 38 years old, who was on administrative leave without pay at the time of the incident, was driving northbound on I-275, when he ran off the road and struck the noise barrier on the east side of the interstate.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they found Valenzuela and a passenger arguing. During the investigation into the crash, deputies noticed both parties showed signs of impairment.
In the news: Florida Woman Wins $2 Million Top Prize On $10 Lottery Scratch-Off Game
Deputy Valenzuela consented to a breathalyzer test, which indicated a breath alcohol content (BrAC) of .146 and .149.
He was arrested and is charged with Driving Under The Influence With Property Damage Or Personal Injury.
“It is completely irresponsible for one of our deputies to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated; he placed the lives of those in the vehicle and others on the road in danger,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “The fact that this deputy was under investigation, and still chose to make this poor decision, is unbecoming and violates the oath he took, to protect and serve.”
An Internal Affairs Investigation was initiated as a result of this DUI arrest, and Valenzuela has resigned from the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Morris Valenzuela was employed by HCSO for four years, was assigned to the Department of Detention Services, and at the time of the DUI arrest was on administrative leave without pay due to an unrelated internal affairs investigation.