CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Bradley County Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber's recent arrest on a DUI charge will remain "a private matter" unless he is found guilty, the panel's chairman said.
"Unless someone is convicted of a crime, we will consider it a private matter until that point," Louie Alford said Monday.
Yarber, commissioner for the 5th District, has said little publicly about his arrest early Friday morning for allegedly driving under the influence. He did not address the issue at the commission's meeting this week.
"I am working with authorities in a cooperative manner," he said Saturday. "I believe this will have a positive outcome once all is said and done."
Yarber said he had received a number of calls of support and wanted to express his gratitude.
County Attorney Crystal Frieberg said the county will not have a position on the matter until the investigation is resolved.
While the state has statutes covering the removal of public officials from office, it's unclear if they would apply even if he were convicted, Freiberg said.
"There's no clear answer," she said.
According to the affidavit of complaint, Cleveland Police Officer Tyler Pride found Yarber unconscious in the driver's seat of a black 2012 Dodge Charger parked in front of All Seasons Chem Dry at 165 Goldstar Drive SW.
The officer had been responding to a call about a black Dodge Charger reportedly traveling west in the eastbound lanes of APD-40 a little after midnight.
Pride said he awakened Yarber with a knock on the driver's window. Yarber responded by saying that he had been calling a friend on his cellphone and resting. The report stated that "his speech was slurred and his eyes were red and glassy."
Yarber did not perform adequately on a number of field sobriety tests and was taken into custody by Pride. At the Bradley Country Justice Center he consented to a Breathalyzer test, the report stated. He registered a 0.12 percent blood alcohol content reading, according to the affidavit of complaint. The legal limit in Tennessee is 0.08 percent.
According to Pride's report, Yarber claimed the arrest was politically motivated because he "had been a thorn in the side of the city."
Yarber's hearing is scheduled for March 14 in Bradley County General Sessions Court.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.