DUI and other charges against former RPD officer dropped on technicality

The former Rogersville Police Officer who wrecked his motorcycle while driving under the influence had his DUI and several other charged dismissed Monday due to a technicality.

Chris James Funk, 44, was suspended from his job and arrested in August of 2019 after a motorcycle accident on East Main Street in Rogersville, near the intersection of Burem Road (SR 347).

According to a report by the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Funk was apparently headed east on the main thoroughfare through town when his 2016 Harley Davidson ran off the right side of the street and overturned onto its side.

The driver was still at the scene, THP said, and “exhibited signs of impairment”.

Funk “refused to perform field sobriety tests or submit to a breath and or blood test,” the report states.

“A search warrant was obtained by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for a blood test. During the investigation a handgun was also discovered belonging to the driver.”

Funk, who was not injured in the crash, was transported to the Hawkins Co. Jail where he was formally charged with failure to maintain lane, DUI (first), violation of implied consent, possession of a handgun while under the influence, and having no proof of insurance.

He was released from jail the following Monday morning and arraigned in Hawkins Co. Sessions Court.

During the Monday, May 17 court hearing, however, Defense Attorney Daniel Boyd argued that the aforementioned search warrant, which was obtained for Funk’s blood test, was flawed because it did not contain a judge’s signature. This signature is required after the search warrant is executed.

Judge Todd Ross ultimately ruled in favor of Boyd’s argument and determined that all evidence obtained as a result of the flawed search warrant was inadmissible.

Ross also ruled that the THP officer made an error in relation to Funk’s ‘violation of implied consent’ charge. An implied consent violation occurs when a DUI suspect refuses to submit to a blood or breathalyzer test.

The THP officer placed Funk’s ‘violation of implied consent’ charge on the same warrant as the other charges against him; however, the law requires that that charge be placed on a separate warrant. Thus, this charge was dismissed on a technicality as well.

In the end, Ross dismissed all charges against Funk, including DUI, failure to maintain lane, violation of implied consent, possession of a handgun while under the influence and having no proof of insurance.

A former deputy with the Hawkins Co. Sheriff’s Office, Funk had been employed by the Rogersville Police Department since January, 2013.

Since his suspension, his old position with the RPD has been filled. RPD Chief Doug Nelson met with Mayor Jim Sells on Wednesday to determine wither Funk will be offered his job once again. No information on this discussion has been released yet.

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