Former Madison County Commission Chairman John Scarborough, who serves as a deputy coroner, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and obstruction of an officer Wednesday after allegedly arriving at a coroner’s call in a county vehicle after drinking.
According to a report from the Georgia State Patrol, a GSP trooper was called to a Hwy. 29 residence at 8:48 p.m., July 28, where deputies were on the scene with a dead body.
Deputies stated that Scarborough, 61, “drove on scene in a county vehicle and was believed to be intoxicated due to the overwhelming odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person.”
The trooper also smelled the strong odor of alcohol and asked Scarborough to perform a field sobriety test.
“It was determined that based upon the observations of the trooper and Mr. Scarborough’s performance on the field sobriety, that he was impaired,” the GSP reported. “He was arrested for Driving Under the Influence. Mr. Scarborough was transported to Madison County Jail where he was turned over to the jail staff for booking.”
The former chairman, who recently announced his bid to seek the open BOC District 3 seat, was also charged with obstruction of officers.
According to a report from Sheriff’s Office Investigator Samuel Beard, Scarborough arrived at the scene driving the coroner’s office transport truck, following behind Coroner Julie “Coach” Harrison, who was driving the coroner’s office black Chevy Tahoe. Beard reported that he began to talk with Harrison through the driver’s side window to pass along information obtained prior to the coroner’s arrival. Beard noted in his report that the decedent had been hospitalized earlier this year with serious medical issues.
Beard said Scarborough began to “aggressively question” him about why the coroner’s office wasn’t notified about the decedent through Madison County dispatch. Beard said he couldn’t answer that, adding that he thought the coroner’s office had been notified prior to his arrival.
“Scarborough proceeded to be aggressive and stated that this was ‘b@#*s@#$’ and that Scarborough was working with the sheriff’s office to resolve the issue,” the incident report stated.
Beard said he had his arm propped on the mirror of Harrison’s vehicle and that Scarborough grabbed his arm and pushed it from the mirror. Beard said he told Scarborough, “Don’t put your hands on me.” He said Scarborough then told him to remove his hands from Harrison’s vehicle.
Beard said he spoke with Harrison, calling her by her first name, “Julie.”
“Scarborough became agitated and asked why I call her Julie, not ‘Coach,” wrote Beard. “I advised that Julie is her name.”
Beard said that he asked Scarborough why he could smell alcohol on his breath. He said Scarborough “began to distance himself.” The Georgia State Patrol was contacted.
“Harrison approached Beard and asked Beard to let Harrison handle this situation,” the sheriff’s office report stated. “Beard advised Harrison that Beard was going to handle it and that Beard was sorry it had to be this way.”
Beard spoke with the district attorney following the incident and a warrant for obstruction of officers was obtained against Scarborough.
Scarborough bonded himself out of jail. The total bond was $6,600 ($5,600 for the obstruction and $1,000 for the DUI).