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Video: Former sheriff says during DUI arrest he 'wrote book on DUI'

Ex-Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy arrested last week in Ormond Beach

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Video released Tuesday showing the DUI arrest of former Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy shows Hardy telling deputies during a field sobriety test that he “wrote the book on DUI.”

At one point during the July 24 arrest in Ormond Beach, Hardy playfully tries to give a deputy a fist pound, and the deputy forcefully asks Hardy not to do that.

In the video, deputies indicate that the Volusia County Sheriff's Office had responded earlier in the night to a fight Hardy was involved in at his brother's home and that deputies had warned Hardy then not to get behind the wheel.

News4Jax on Wednesday obtained a 911 call, which revealed Hardy's brother, Todd, was the person who called 911 dispatchers, accusing Hardy of physically assaulting him.

LISTED: Redacted 911 call made before Jeff Hardy's DUI arrest

911 Dispatcher: "911. What is your emergency?"
Todd Hardy: "Jeff Hardy is insane. He grabbed my throat, and I'm done with him. We've already had the police here once."

In the call, Todd Hardy can be heard saying deputies need to get to Ormond Beach quickly, to remove his brother from his home. 

911 Dispatcher: "Is he there now?"
Todd Hardy: "Yep."
Dispatcher: "Is it getting physical or verbal?"
Todd Hardy: "It's physical and verbal. And, year, he grabbed my throat."

In the background, Hardy can be heard saying, "I did not."

Todd Hardy: "He threatened to punch me out."
Dispatcher: "Sir, are there any weapons in the house?"
Todd Hardy: "No weapons. No nothing. I asked him to leave my land. I asked him to leave my land, leave my property, my property."

Hours after that 911 call, Hardy was pulled over by Volusia County deputies on suspicion of DUI, and one deputy can be heard in the video telling Hardy that he put them “in a tight spot” after the deputies gave him a break earlier the same night. 

The body camera footage shows Hardy barefoot, failing a field sobriety test and refusing a breathalyzer. 

RAW: Body camera video of former sheriff Jeff Hardy's DUI arrest
(WARNING: Contains some profanity)

The arresting deputy asks Hardy why he felt the need to drive after he'd already been warned, and he responds that he "needed to speak to his ex-wife."

Later in the video, Hardy tells deputies, “I’m done,” and that he just wants to go home and sleep. Deputies respond, “You had that chance,” and tell Hardy he's facing a DUI charge before putting him in handcuffs.

Hardy pleads with deputies before being put in the back of a cruiser, saying that he’d been a cop for 34 years. The arresting deputy responds that he's been on the force for 38 years.

While Hardy was being read his rights in the cruiser, his girlfriend comes to his defense, claiming that the former sheriff is not a violent man. 

"He's my friend, and I had enough, that's all. He's never put his hands on me, ever," she said. 

In Hardy's truck, deputies said, they found a handgun, his Putnam County sheriff's badge and handcuffs. 

News4Jax has learned that Hardy spent seven hours in jail, and was released on $1,000 bond. He was unavailable when News4Jax tried to reach him on Wednesday. 

Hardy was the sheriff of Putnam County during one of the county's biggest cases: the 2009 disappearance of 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. The case remains unsolved.

Hardy served two terms as sheriff and left office in January. He was succeeded by current Sheriff Gator DeLoach.

Hardy is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 5.


About the Authors:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.