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Micheal Smitherman
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Smitherman Arrest Report

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Whitfield County, Ga., Sheriff's Office Sgt. Michael Smitherman drove his patrol car Friday morning with a blood alcohol content of either 0.236 percent or 0.222 percent -- almost three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Just before Smitherman blew into the Intoxilyzer device that gave those numbers, the arrest report states, the patrol sergeant sought a favor from a co-worker.

"Will you blow for me?" Smitherman asked a fellow sergeant, who refused.

Smitherman, 44, was relieved of duty and put on administrative leave Friday after he drove drunk at about 8 a.m. to mandatory domestic violence training at Rock Bridge Community Church in downtown Dalton, authorities said.

Two sheriff's lieutenants and a sergeant were standing on the sidewalk on West Gordon Street when Smitherman's patrol car pulled up and then backed quickly into a parking space -- nearly hitting a white car in the street behind it, the arrest report by Lt. Fran Rice stated.

Rice smelled alcohol on Smitherman's breath, the report said. Smitherman said, "Well, I drank some last night, but I haven't had anything today."

Rice took Smitherman to the sheriff's office, where he was given the Intoxilyzer test and then booked on a charge of driving under the influence. He was released on bond.

Smitherman, who has been employed by Whitfield County since 2006, was named December employee of the month in 2012 for Whitfield County government.

"Since Deputy Mike Smitherman began working at the Sheriff's Office, he has maintained a very high level of performance and motivation," Lt. Patrick Rollins said in an article on the whitfieldgovernmentblog.wordpress.com. "Deputy Smitherman always conducts himself in a professional and courteous manner. He has received several letters of commendation since coming to the Uniform Patrol Division in 2008."

Smitherman is a Whitfield County native and Dalton High School graduate. He has a wife, daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, according to the questionnaire he filled out in 2012 for the employee of the month award.

Sheriff's Major John Gibson couldn't recall a similar incident of a deputy driving under the influence.

"Not that I can remember or can recall," Gibson said. "It's not happened in the last 20, 25 years."

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.

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