ERWIN — A Unicoi County doctor who was contracted to work with the Unicoi County Jail was arrested last week by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and charged with driving under the influence.
Todd Anthony Whitaker, 44, 190 Mountain View Farm Road, Unicoi, was arrested Nov. 7 and charged with first-offense DUI. Whitaker served as a physician at Unicoi Valley Internal Medicine in Unicoi.
According to an affidavit written by Trooper James W. Jackson Jr., at about 4:15 p.m. Nov. 7, Jackson was contacted by investigators with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department who advised that the UCSD jail supervisor had taken an inmate to Whitaker’s office for treatment.
“(The) jail supervisor stated that the doctor was so intoxicated that he was unable to write a prescription for the inmate,” Jackson’s report said.
According to Jackson’s report, UCSD investigators said Whitaker was the Unicoi County Jail doctor and he did not want to make the arrest. Jackson was asked by the UCSD if he would check on Whitaker after he left his Unicoi office, according to the report.
Whitaker was stopped in the parking lot of the old Tennessee Hills Motel, located on Tenn. Highway 107, by Unicoi County investigators, according to the report. The report states Jackson arrived on the scene seconds after Whitaker was stopped and performed field sobriety tests. Whitaker was unable to pass these tests and was arrested, according to the report.
Whitaker’s vehicle was released to his wife and he was transported to the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital for a blood-alcohol test, according to the report. Afterward, Whitaker was transported to the jail, where he was booked.
The jail’s standard bond for those booked on first-offense DUI is $1,000. Whitaker was released on bond following his arrest.
UCSD Administrative Assistant Robie Sullins said the department could not officially comment on the case and referred questions to the THP. Jennifer Donnals, communications director for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said because Whitaker’s arrest is a pending court case, no comment other than information contained in the arrest report could be made.
Unicoi County Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Pate said Whitaker resigned from his practice Monday.
Although unable to comment on the case, Sheriff Kent Harris dispelled rumors that began circulating following Whitaker’s arrest that Whitaker was serving as the sheriff’s personal doctor. While Harris said Whitaker was effective in his role as the jail’s physician, a capacity that he has served in for the last couple of years, Harris said Whitaker has never served as his personal physician.
“He’s done an excellent job for the jail,” Harris said. “I wouldn’t have any problem at all going to him because he’s a fine doctor.”
Whitaker is scheduled to appear in Unicoi County Sessions Court on Jan. 20.