Rutherford deputy in DUI checkpoint video once resigned post

9:50 AM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
Image from video of DUI checkpoint stop/The Tennessean
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By Becca Andrews, Gannett

A Rutherford County Sheriff's deputy at the center of a controversy tied to a videotaped DUI checkpoint stop has in the past drawn the scrutiny of his superiors and once resigned from the office, a review of disciplinary records shows.

Deputy A.J. Ross was featured in a July 4 video posted by the Libertarian Party that depicted a verbal altercation between Ross and 21-year-old Chris Kalbaugh. The Middle Tennessee State University junior accuses Ross of violating his constitutional rights during a checkpoint stop.

Sheriff Robert Arnold's office has refused to comment on the video, other than to say Ross's actions are "currently under investigation."

But sheriff's office records show Arnold rehired Ross in November 2010, six years after the deputy resigned amid accusations that he lied about whether he had auto insurance after an accident on Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro.

According to the incident report, Ross told the Murfreesboro police officer on the scene of the September 2003 accident that "he did not have his insurance card with him nor inside the vehicle he was occupying."

"Mr. Ross, however, was very assuring that the pickup he was in was insured," the report states.

Ross identified himself as a member of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office and was not issued a citation, according to the report.

The other man involved in the accident, after discovering the deputy's vehicle was uninsured, called authorities and demanded to know why Ross was not given a citation, the report saud.

The sheriff's office on June 22, 2004, recommended termination. Ross resigned June 23.

In the letter to then-Sheriff Truman Jones, Ross said he hoped they would be able to talk in the future. Jones hired Ross in 2002.

"I have enjoyed working for the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office and wish I could have stayed and continued to do an excellent job for you and the citizens of Rutherford County," Ross said in his resignation letter.

The office also suspended Ross for three 10-hour shifts for failing to appear in general sessions court in August 2003 for a DUI citation he issued, the disciplinary records show.

Attempts since Friday to reach Ross for comment have been unsuccessful.

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