Weekend DUI arrest lands Marion County, Tennessee, deputy behind bars

Staff Photo / The Marion County Justice Center is shown in 2015 in Jasper, Tenn.

A Marion County deputy sergeant is on leave after being jailed Sunday for DUI and associated charges after running deputies off the road and crashing into a guardrail in Monteagle, Tennessee.

Marion County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Donovan Ladd, 48, faces charges of driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, reckless driving and evading arrest, according to authorities.

Ladd had no lawyer on record, court officials said Tuesday, and he couldn't immediately be reached for comment. He was freed on a $1,500 bond and faces a court appearance Wednesday.

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According to an affidavit in Marion County General Sessions Court, Ladd was allegedly the reckless driver Monteagle police were called to find on U.S. Highway 41 inside the city limits around 9 p.m. CST Sunday.

When he encountered police, Ladd allegedly ran two patrol cars off the road when passing on the double yellow line and evaded officers when they tried to pull him over, the affidavit states. Ladd then crashed into a guardrail in the area of Laurel Lake Drive.

Monteagle officers said Ladd refused a field sobriety test and was very unsteady on his feet, according to the affidavit. He was booked at the Marion County Jail in Jasper.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said an internal investigation was being conducted alongside the one in Monteagle.

"He's suspended with pay right now," Burnett said Tuesday in a phone interview. "I don't know for how long. I'm going to wait and see what happens."

Burnett said Ladd's status could change depending on court action.

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"We have to abide by the law just like everybody else," the sheriff said. "He'll have to go through the court system and let the system do what it's supposed to do."

Ladd has worked at the Sheriff's Office for about 11 years, Burnett said, and he has had no other incidents on his record.

"He's always been a good officer. He's just made some bad judgments," Burnett said.

The sheriff said the loss of Ladd will stretch his already-thin staff.

"I'm already short some officers," he said.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.