Pitkin County Sheriff allows civil deputy to keep job after DUI | AspenTimes.com
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Pitkin County Sheriff allows civil deputy to keep job after DUI

Civil Deputy Sarah Bushman, 36, of Snowmass Village, is due Oct. 18 in Pitkin County Court for an arraignment hearing on charges of DUI and careless driving

A civil deputy kept her job and was mandated to undergo counseling after Aspen police arrested her in July on suspicion of driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo on Friday said, “There’s no reason to think she has a drug or alcohol problem. I consider this an isolated incident, and I’m giving her a second chance.”

Civil Deputy Sarah Bushman, 36, of Snowmass Village, is due Oct. 18 in Pitkin County Court for an arraignment hearing on charges of DUI and careless driving. She did not respond to a message seeking comment.



Responding to an anonymous caller reporting a drunk driver, police officer Ryan Turner pulled over Bushman at 10:21 p.m. July 27 on the 500 block of East Francis Street, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Ryan wrote in the affidavit he stopped Bushman, who was driving a Nissan Pathfinder, after seeing the westbound vehicle cross swerve into the eastbound lane on East Main Street near the Garmisch Street intersection. He wrote that he “eventually found a safe place to stop her on the 700 block of East Francis Street.” As Bushman was pulling over, she struck a parked car, the affidavit said.




She had alcohol on her breath and struggled to find paperwork for her vehicle, the affidavit said. After she refused to take a breathalyzer test or do a voluntary roadside sobriety test, Ryan arrested her, the affidavit said.

“Based on the totality of the circumstances, I made the decision to place Bushman under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol,” the affidavit said. “Bushman responded and said, ‘So you guys, my question is: Do you need my Pitkin County ID, do you need my Sheriff’s badge, what do you need?’ Bushman had previously disclosed to me that she was employed by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office as a civil process server.”

Because she refused submitting to an alcohol test, her driver’s license was automatically revoked for one year.

As a civil deputy, Bushman is a badged employee of the Sheriff’s Office. Her duties include processing and preparing civil papers for sheriff’s deputies to serve. Those documents can include divorce and eviction filings and civil protection orders, for instance.

Driving was part of the job duties for previous employees with Bushman’s position, but that responsibility was eliminated, making the role strictly office-based. Bushman was hired less than six months ago, DiSalvo said. Nothing in her background showed previous DUI infractions, he said.

“Fortunately for her, we changed the driving part before she got hired,” he said. “We decided we needed another administrative person in the office and take the driving part out.

“She does not have to drive. She not have to possess a driver’s license to work there.”

DiSalvo said she “was extremely contrite over this, very sad, very upset, and prepared to quit.”

Other than the sheriff mandating Bushman undergo counseling, no other disciplinary action was taken, he said.

The Sheriff’s Office does not have a policy for disciplining employees arrested on DUI-related charges, he said. But, terminating or suspending a deputy patrol officer cited for DUI would be a likely scenario, he said.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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