Dui Charges Filed, Court Appearance Set For Sheriff's Deputy

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An initial court appearance has been set for a Gila County Sheriff's Department Deputy accused of driving his motorcycle while he was intoxicated last Halloween night.

A formal complaint was filed Feb. 25 against sheriff's deputy Rodney Cronk by the Gila County Attorney's Office.

Cronk, who was not on duty at the time of his accident, is being charged with DUI, and DUI with a blood alcohol content at or above .10 percent, both misdemeanor offenses.

The deputy, who has been with the department for two years, will make his initial appearance on the DUI charges at 2 p.m. March 22 at the Payson Justice Court.

When contacted about the complaint, Cronk declined to comment.

According to the investigating Department of Public Safety officer, Cronk was driving his motorcycle east on Highway 260 just past Star Valley. He drove onto the shoulder of the road, the officer said, and when Cronk tried to get back on the road, he lost control of his bike.

Believing that alcohol may have been a factor in the accident, the DPS officer obtained consent for a blood sample from the deputy. Weeks later, the blood test confirmed the officer's suspicion -- Cronk's blood-alcohol content was 0.21,more than twice the legal limit for intoxication.

"Administratively, our internal investigation has been completed and is sitting on my desk," said Chief Deputy Byron Mills. "We're still waiting to run concurrently our sanctions on him with the court's."

Cronk, who had been on administrative leave with pay, has been put back to work, Mills said, but is not on patrol.

"We have him working on some assignments that have been ignored for a long time, simply because nobody had time to do them," Mills said.

While the deputy is working out of the Payson sheriff's office, Mills said he is working out of uniform, and is driving his own personal vehicle until his case is settled. The reason for the plain clothes, Mills said, was that his superiors didn't want Cronk to be placed in a situation where he might have to jump into a department vehicle to respond to an emergency.

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