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Alachua County Deputy Arrested After Downtown Incident

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An Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy is on administrative leave after being arrested early Friday morning.

Deputy Joseph Sperring, 27, who has been with the agency for just over two years, was charged with DUI and with leaving the scene of an accident involving damage to property or a vehicle.

According to the arrest report filed by Gainesville Police Officer Aaron Stemen, Sperring was leaving the Rain Nightclub in downtown Gainesville when he hit a car in the parking lot.  According to the report, witnesses Earl Murphy and James Willams, both of Gainesville,  said after Sperring struck the car in the parking lot, he sped away.

Officer Stemen just happened to see a pick-up truck, that at the time, he didn’t know was driven by Sperring, driving fast on West University Avenue.  He clocked the Chevy Silverado going 52 miles per hour and wrote in the report he was unaware it was someone fleeing a crash.

The truck pulled onto a side street, along with two other cars that had been pursuing the truck and cut the driver off, forcing him to stop.  The occupants of the cars got into a verbal altercation with Sperring, telling Stemen that he had hit a car and fled.

Stemen goes on to report, that while talking to Sperring, he could smell alcohol and his eyes were watery and glassy.  Sperring then told Stemen he was a sheriff’s deputy, that he did not know he had been involved in a accident, and that he had consumed only one alcoholic beverage.  He assured Stemen he was not impaired.

Stemen attempted a field sobriety test, but the arrest report states Sperring refused.  Based on several factors, Stemen said he told Sperring he had probable cause to believe he was driving under the influence, and was placing him under arrest at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Moments after his arrest Sperring complained of chest pains.  Paramedics were called and he was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital Emergency Room. At the hospital, officer Stemen asked if Sperring would consent to giving a blood sample.  Sperring responded, “absolutely not,” according to the report.  After leaving the hospital, Sperring was booked into the Alachua County Jail at 4:58AM.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards was notified and will now begin an internal investigation.  That investigation will run parallel with the criminal case.

Sperring will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations by Sheriff Sadie Darnell.

About Forrest Smith

Forrest is a radio news manager for WUFT News. Reach him by emailing news@wuft.org or calling 352-392-6397.

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