Chattanooga police officer on leave after DUI arrest

Chattanooga police officer on leave after DUI arrest

April 10th, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Christian Lorenzen

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga police officer is on administrative leave after he reportedly drove drunk in a green Jeep through a construction zone on U.S. Highway 27 near the Tennessee River, according to an arrest report.

Officer Christian Lorenzen, 36, was arrested Sunday on charges of DUI, violation of the implied consent law, speeding in a work zone and possession of a handgun while under the influence.

He was released on a $2,000 bond. Reached by phone Tuesday, he declined to comment.

Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers stopped Lorenzen just before 1 a.m. Sunday after his 2008 Jeep Wrangler veered over the center line twice and just over the solid white line at the edge of the road three times while heading north near mile marker four, according to the arrest report. He was going 60 mph in a 45-mph work zone, THP said.

The report states Lorenzen smelled of alcohol and that when he was asked to step out of the car he was unsteady on his feet. A 9 mm handgun was on the floor of the Jeep.

Lorenzen said he had one beer 15 minutes before the traffic stop and that he takes Vyvance for ADHD. He failed three field sobriety tests and refused a breath test. Blood was drawn before he was booked at the Hamilton County Jail.

Lorenzen, who has been an officer with the department since July 2000, will remain on leave until an internal affairs investigation is completed, said Master Patrol Officer Nathan Hartwig.

Lorenzen's internal affairs history shows he has one sustained complaint out of 12 complaints received by the department. The sustained complaint was for improper investigation in 2009.

It's not the first time officers have been charged with DUI.

In 2008, Officer Michael Early was charged with DUI. He refused to take a breath test and later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving. He now works as an investigator in property crimes, according to records.

In 2010, Officer Jeremy I. Williams bumped another car in a parking lot of an apartment complex. He told the vehicle owner he was an officer and left the scene. He was charged with DUI and leaving the scene. The case was dismissed, according to police. Internal affairs found a sustained violation of conduct unbecoming, and Williams was given a written reprimand.

He now works as a patrol officer, according to records.