Inquiry: Deputy broke no policies

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BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Deputy Joseph Tibor, who was arrested on a drunken driving charge in January but ultimately not prosecuted, did not violate any sheriff’s office policies, an administrative inquiry concludes.

The report was prepared by sheriff’s internal affairs Sgt. Kathleen Reid and approved by Col. Michael Maurer.

The report was completed Mar. 31. A copy recently was released to a Hernando Today reporter.

Tibor, 45, was placed on paid leave in January after Florida Highway Patrol Cpl. David Frye pulled him over on State Road 50 in Brooksville on the night of Jan. 11.

According to Frye’s report on the incident, Tibor was driving 85 mph in a 55-mph zone; the deputy told him he was a law enforcement officer, and conceded he drank five alcoholic drinks earlier in the day.

He was arrested after failing a series of field sobriety exercises, according to the Highway Patrol, and refused to provide a breath sample at the Hernando County Jail.

Sheriff’s Detective Bryan Faulkingham, who came to the arrest scene, said Tibor did not seem impaired, court documents show. Laurie Pizzo, who was participating in a ride-along with Faulkingham and who is a candidate for a county commission seat, also said she was surprised when he was arrested, court documents show.

Assistant State Attorney William Hamilton decided not to pursue the drunken driving charge against Tibor, maintaining the conflicting statements would make it difficult to attain a conviction, according to a court document filed Feb. 4.

Tibor’s license was suspended the day after his arrest for his refusal to submit a breath sample. It was reinstated Feb. 26 after an administrative hearing.

The deputy returned to full duty April 4, sheriff’s spokeswoman Denise Moloney said.

The administrative report mentions the lack of a video of Tibor refusing to submit to a breath test.

The breath test was to be conducted by Highway Patrol Sgt. Heather Glenny at the county jail, the report states, and Detention Deputy Michael Paolella supposedly turned on the recorder and left the room. Later, when it was discovered the video was not working, Glenny “waved him off,” the report shows.

The jail’s recording equipment later was checked, and no problems were found.

During the hearing that resulted in the reinstatement of Tibor’s license, Frye said his in-car video was not working and decided to have Tibor perform field-sobriety exercises before another trooper arrived because he didn’t want to wait and have “20 Hernando County deputies on scene,” the report states.

Frye also said detention staffers “neglected” to turn on the video recorder at the jail.

wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday .com

(352) 544-5283