ERWIN — A Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department deputy has found himself on the wrong side of the law following his early Thursday morning arrest on charges of driving under the influence, speeding and possession of a handgun while under the influence.
Adam Keith Campbell, 30, 501 Old Stage Road, Erwin, was arrested by officers with the Erwin Police Department. According to an affidavit written and signed by Sgt. Bob Rutherford with the EPD, Rutherford was operating a stationary radar on North Elm Avenue in Erwin and had earlier received a be-on-the-lookout alert for a black Jeep possibly being operated by a drunken driver.
Rutherford observed a vehicle approaching southbound on North Elm Avenue and clocked the vehicle traveling 38 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, according to the affidavit. Rutherford stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Holly and Spruce avenues and, according to his affidavit, recognized the driver as Campbell, a deputy with the UCSD.
“As Mr. Campbell spoke, I detected a strong odor of alcohol about his person,” Rutherford’s affidavit states.
Rutherford’s affidavit states that Campbell told the officer he had a “couple of beers” when asked about the amount of alcohol he had consumed prior to being stopped. EPD Lt. Mark Anderson was called to the scene and conducted a series of field sobriety tests, according to the affidavit.
“Mr. Campbell performed unsatisfactorily on the tasks given and was placed under arrest for driving under the influence,” Rutherford’s affidavit states.
As Anderson went to park Campbell’s vehicle, he observed a 9 mm Springfield handgun lying the passenger’s seat and a .357 Magnum protruding from under the driver’s seat, according to the affidavit.
Campbell agreed to submit to a breath test, and after being unable to submit a satisfactory breath sample, agreed to submit a blood test, according to the affidavit. Campbell was then transported to the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital’s lab, where blood was drawn and was afterward transported to the Unicoi County Jail for processing, Rutherford’s affidavit states.
Campbell was charged with driving under the influence — 1st offense, speeding and possession of a handgun while under the influence. He was released from the Unicoi County Jail on Thursday morning on a $2,500 bond, according to UCSD Chief Deputy Ronnie Adkins.
Campbell has been with the UCSD for approximately four years, starting as a volunteer and later moving into a full-time position at the department, Adkins said.
Adkins also said that Campbell has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of court proceedings. Campbell is scheduled to appear in Unicoi County Sessions Court on April 5.
“Police officers are held to higher standards when it comes to violating and enforcing the law, and rightly so,” Adkins said. “Those who enforce the law are not above the law, however, like any other alleged offender, they are innocent until proven guilty.”
While Adkins said he could not comment on specifics of the case as it is an ongoing matter involving another law enforcement agency, he did say neither of the firearms found in Campbell’s possession were issued by the UCSD and that Campbell was off-duty at the time of his arrest.
Despite the recent indictment of Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris on 10 felony charges and a recent aggravated assault charge filed against UCSD auxiliary deputy Bobby Scalf for allegedly using a stun gun on a man after being dared to do so, Adkins said the UCSD strives to provide the best law enforcement possible for the citizens of Unicoi County.
“Even though a couple of our officers have had problems recently, the overwhelming majority of our department is dedicated to providing the best law enforcement that the county deserves,” Adkins said. “Our employees are hard-working, professional people who do their job to the best of their ability.”
Adkins also said he wants the county’s citizens to know that driving under the influence is an offense that the department takes very seriously.
“Regardless of who the offender is, the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department will continue to aggressively prosecute DUI cases and will continue to ensure the roads of our county are safe to travel,” Adkins said.