Sheriff’s Deputy Arrested on Suspicion of Drunken Driving

A Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving over the weekend after waving a gun around in a Jack In the Box drive-through, authorities said.

Police arrested 33-year-old Benjamin Lee at 2:40am Sunday at the fast food joint on El Camino Real by Lafayette Street in Santa Clara. Lee was booked on charges of driving under the influence and brandishing a weapon, according to Santa Clara Police Department spokesman Lt. Kurt Clarke.

Lee, who was off duty at the time of his arrest, was placed on paid leave while the Sheriff’s Office and Santa Clara police investigate the incident.

The arrest is the latest scandal involving the Sheriff’s Office, which has come under scrutiny after an inmate’s beating death, the subsequent arrest of three correctional guards on suspicion of murder and racist texts exchanged among jail staff.

Roger Winslow, second-in-command of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, Lee’s union, cautioned against a rush to judgment but said he was “saddened” by the arrest.

“Our deputies make arrests for these crimes regularly,” he said in a statement. “They see firsthand the consequences caused by impaired drivers. A DUI by anyone is unacceptable; doubly so when it involves a deputy sheriff. We are held to a higher standard and rightly so.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

4 Comments

  1. He was working undercover and pretending to be drunk. He was looking for people carrying illegal concealed weapons trying to prompt them to pull out and expose their illegal weapons so as to avoid an illegal search and seizure complaints. He then could not find any and was taken away by police to conceal his identity. His gun was a toy gun and no one was in danger. You people just don’t understand modern police tactics. Case closed.

    • He’s lucky this happened in Santa Clara and not San Jose! Trigger happy San Jose PD officers would have just shot him, ordered a super-size meal, and cleaned up the mess afterward. No investigation needed and no questions asked. The sad fact is this sheriff”s deputy will be back on the street with a loaded weapon.

  2. Remember this sheriff is innocent until proven guilty. A few years ago, Darcie Green was checking into a hotel at 2 a.m. with Assemblymember Roger Hernandez and he was arrested for DUI, too. But in the end, the jury decided he was merely borderline and he got off. Maybe Darcie can refer Deputy Lee to Roger Hernandez’s attorney. He’d be well advised not to use Rich Robinson. When it’s your career on the line, you need someone competent, and Roger Hernandez’s guy must be really, really good.

  3. vacancy. He was a sheriff’s deputy, or deputy sheriff. Not the sheriff.