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Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Hernando deputy will not face DUI charges


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BROOKSVILLE - A Hernando sheriff's deputy arrested last month on DUI charges will not be prosecuted.

On Tuesday, Assistant State Attorney William Hamilton filed a document of no information with the court, which read, in part: "After a comprehensive review of the event and witness statements in the case, it was determined that the likelihood of conviction at trial was minimal."

Deputy Joseph Tibor, 45, was arrested on Jan. 11 after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper clocked him driving 85 mph in a 55 mph zone on State Road 50 in Brooksville.

After flashing his badge and mistaking him for another trooper, Tibor told Corporal David Frye he hadn't had any alcoholic beverages to drink that evening, according to the report. When the corporal said his eyes were bloodshot and watery, the deputy said "OK, well I had maybe five drinks earlier," according to the report.

After failing field sobriety exercises, Tibor was arrested on charges of driving under the influence. He refused to provide a breath test at the Hernando County Jail, the affidavit shows.

Court documents list Laurie Pizzo as a witness in the case. Pizzo, who is running for the District 4 seat on the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners in 2014, said she was participating in a ride-along with Det. Bryan Faulkingham of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office when he was called to the scene.

Pizzo said she saw Tibor perform field sobriety exercises while she sat in Faulkingham's vehicle.

"Obviously I don't have the expertise of a trained police officer to give any kind of professional opinion," Pizzo said. "From what I saw, he looked fine, walked the white line, stood on one leg, didn't fall over, that kind of thing."

"Witness Laurie Pizzo stated that the defendant did not appear to be impaired and that she was surprised when he was arrested," court documents show.

Tibor was placed on administrative leave after his arrest. Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Denise Moloney said Wednesday Tibor is still on paid leave pending an administrative hearing regarding the implied consent law because he declined to submit to a Breathalyzer. The law states that when a driver is granted a license, he gives his implied consent to be tested for impairment.

"It has yet to be determined whether an Internal Affairs Investigation will be conducted," Moloney wrote.

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