JSO assistant chief accused of DUI

FHP: Asst. Chief Larry Jones arrested after crash

Assistant Chief Larry Jones
Assistant Chief Larry Jones (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office photo)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – An assistant chief with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was arrested early Saturday morning for suspicion of driving under the influence in St. Johns County after he rear-ended a tractor-trailer that was slowing for a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers charged Assistant Chief Larry Jones with driving under the influence and driving under the influence with property damage. He was also issued a citation for careless driving.

Troopers said Jones was was exiting Interstate 95 to State Road 206 around 12:48 a.m. when he struck the rear of the big rig.  The responding officer wrote in the accident report that Jones "showed signs of impairment... his eyes were bloodshot, watery and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath."

The trooper who conducted a field sobriety test noted that Jones did not touch heel-to-toe and took an incorrect number of steps when walking a line, and used his arms to balance, swayed and put his foot down several times while attempting to stand on one foot.

An FHP spokesman said Jones identified himself as an off-duty JSO officer at the time of the arrest.  After his arrest, he refused consent for a breath test.

He was booked into the St. Johns County jail with a $500 bond. He was no longer in their system Saturday morning, which would suggest he bonded out of jail.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office's website, Jones is the commander of Zone 5, a district which includes parts of Northwest and West Jacksonville.

Jones has been with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office since 1991, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Saturday afternoon, JSO spokeswoman Lauri-Ellen Smith released this statement:

"We have been made aware of the DUI arrest of Assistant Chief Larry Jones, in another jurisdiction, early this morning. Sheriff Rutherford has initiated an Internal Affairs investigation. The matter will be dealt with appropriately."