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Cherokee County Sheriff's Office narcotics squad director arrested on DUI charge, records show

Major John New was involved in a rollover crash and refused to take a sobriety test.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — The head of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office narcotics unit is accused of driving under the influence, records show.

Pickens County deputies were called to a rollover crash Sept. 24 around 3 p.m. at Hill City Road and Gibson Trail. That's where crash investigators found Mjr. John Wesley New.

According to the sheriff's office website, New is the director of drug enforcement for the Cherokee Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad (CMANS) and has worked with the county since 1993, starting as a 911 dispatcher.

The 47-year-old was driving a Jeep Wrangler that had flipped, with New saying he came "into the curve too fast," according to a Georgia State Patrol report. New refused medical attention and asked authorities to refuse using blue lights at the scene, adding that he wanted to call for his own tow truck, the report details.

In the incident report, crash investigators noted New's eyes were bloodshot and watery.

"As I walked closer to the subject and his vehicle, I noted that he continued to turn his head away from me and was giving short answers," investigators wrote in the crash report. "As I walked past the subject, I smelled the strong odor of alcohol coming from his person." 

Investigators asked New how much he had to drink and he refused to respond, they said. Later, when authorities asked him to take a field sobriety test, he declined.

New was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence. That's when deputies found two challenge coins labeled CMANS in his vehicle. New admitted to authorities he was in charge of that unit, according to the crash report.

On the way to the jail, New asked deputies to put the coins and his law enforcement badge somewhere other than in his personal items at the jail and they complied, the report states.

New is accused of failing to maintain a lane and driving under the influence.

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