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Louisville corrections officer charged with driving under the influence

According to an arrest citation, Zhi'ir James was taken into custody around 1 a.m. Friday after causing a disturbance at a Taco Bell downtown.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville Metro Department of Corrections officer has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, according to Louisville Metro Police.

An arrest citation says Zhiirkane James was taken into custody around 1 a.m. Friday morning after officers responded to a disturbance at the Taco Bell on E. Broadway.

Employees told police that James pulled into the drive-thru, passed the speaker without ordering and demanded his order at the window. He refused to move out of the drive-thru, resulting in other drivers having to go out and around him to get their orders, the citation says.

The employees also told officers that James got into a confrontation with them in front of the store.

When the responding officer approached the car, he detected a "strong odor of alcohol," according to the citation. The officer reported that James had bloodshot eyes, slurred his speech and was unsteady on his feet. He also said he found an empty bottle of cognac inside the vehicle.

RELATED: Staffing, more equipment among changes Metro Corrections director highlights

The citation says the officer put James through a field sobriety test. During the test, James reportedly struggled to follow instructions and was often unable to keep his balance.

Once he was taken to Metro Corrections, LMPD said James was given a breathalyzer test where he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.229, nearly three times the legal limit.

James is charged with driving under the influence, having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and having expired registration plates.

According to a release from Metro Corrections, James is a current officer at the jail. Director Lt. Col. Jerry Collins has suspended James from work without pay.

"This type of conduct is unacceptable as a law enforcement officer and does not reflect the professionalism and integrity that the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections aspires to achieve," Collins said in a statement.

LMDC Assistant Director Steve Durham said James has worked at the jail since 2020 and was involved in a prior incident involving an inmate that is currently under investigation.

Corrections FOP President Daniel Johnson said James will "most likely be fired" by the completion of this investigation.

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