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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A now-former Polk County deputy was charged Thursday with DUI with serious bodily injury, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Brian Richards resigned at the time of his arrest, according to deputies. The sheriff’s office said he would’ve been fired if he didn’t resign.
The arrest is in connection with a July 27 motorcycle crash, according to the sheriff’s office. Richards, while off-duty, was driving the motorcycle on U.S. 92 when he reportedly lost control, causing him and a female passenger to be thrown from the bike.
Richards was allegedly driving between 65 and 80 mph in a 55-mph zone, deputies said.
Richards was seriously injured in the crash and had not worked since, according to the sheriff’s office. The passenger is still hospitalized with serious injuries, including a brain injury.
Richards had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14, deputies said.
“I tell every single deputy here when they are hired that if they drink and drive they will go to jail, and they will lose their job,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “That’s what happened here. Our sympathies and prayers are with the female victim of this avoidable crash and with her family.”
“I am so disgusted by Richards’ actions — of all people, he should have known better than to drink and drive and put people’s lives at risk,” Judd said. “We will work with the State Attorney’s office to ensure that he is held accountable.”
No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Richards began working with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in April 2011 and became a deputy sheriff in August 2011. He was recently assigned as a general crimes detective, according to the sheriff’s office.