By Carol A. Gasser Moore
THOMAS COUNTY, Georgia – A Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Trooper arrested former Thomas County Drug Squad Commander and former Lanier County Deputy Kevin Lee yesterday, Thursday, March 30 about 6:00 p.m. in Thomas County.
The formal GSP report is recent enough that it’s not yet complete and available through an Open Records Request.
The Lanier County News (LCN) has confirmed that Kevin Lee has 5 charges against him for DUI and related issues. A GSP trooper, not yet identified, spotted Lee coming out of a gas station with a pack of beer, already obviously drunk. He is reported to have gotten in a car which was registered to another person, possibly a family member, and drove off. Once he left the private property and entered the street, the trooper pulled Kevin Lee over and made the arrest.
A credible news source indicates that Lee was charged, arrested and held in the Thomas County Jail for 8 hours. After the hold, a bail bondsman named Mike Oliver, bonded Lee out of jail. It is believed that he was driving a 2011 Grand Cherokee Jeep registered to a family member.
The LCN suspects that the officer was confronted by Lee displaying watery eyes and slurred speech during the exchange, but this is not confirmed. The LCN does not know whether or not there was body camera footage capturing the trooper’s interaction with Lee.
Because Lee was arrested by the Trooper it is clear to the LCN that the Trooper was not swayed by the fact that Lee is a former law enforcement officer.
It is not known what the trooper learned about the quantity of alcohol that Lee had consumer prior to driving. It is not yet known whether the trooper administered a field sobriety test at the time he stopped Lee or whether it was administered later.
In earlier reporting of an incident in which Kevin Lee was found DUI in a Lanier County Sheriff’s Office vehicle and responding to an E-911 call, then driving home to Thomas County. At that time, he was stopped in Brooks County. That incident occurred about a month ago and the LCN does not believe that Lee has been fully adjudicated of that incident’s charges.
In 2016, while off duty, Kevin Lee was employed in the law enforcement field and was in a personal vehicle when he was arrested and convicted of DUI driving.
As the LCN has reported, the law enforcement career field has a higher than ‘average’ rate of people struggling with addiction. Resources are out there for those who are ready to seek help. Most times admitting the problem is the first step on the road to recovery.
Clearly the GSP Trooper has not shown any favoritism to Lee as he has carried out his responsibility to protect the public. The Trooper should be commended!
This is a developing story and the LCN will update it as new information is obtained.