Rockdale County school superintendent retires after DUI arrest

After a wreck in Henry County that stemmed from a very high blood alcohol level, the superintendent of schools has been allowed the chance to resign

MCDONOUGH, Ga. – A south metro school superintendent is retiring after causing an accident while allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested and jailed for the incident on Sunday.

According to authorities, Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry was driving along Hwy. 155 on Sunday around 7:30 p.m. when he rear-ended another car.

Witness statements in a police report said Autry was speeding in his Chevrolet truck as he approached the intersection. When he hit the other car, it reportedly spun into oncoming traffic and traveled more than 150 feet from impact before knocking down mailboxes at a Sunoco gas station.

Photos from the scene show extensive damage to both cars.

According to a McDonough police report, investigators determined speed was a major factor in the accident and determined that, because there were no skid marks at the scene, it appeared Autry did not “attempt to brake before impact.” However, investigators concluded he swerved at the last second based on patterns of damage.

When officers arrived, they noted Autry “was leaning heavily on one of the [gas] pumps,” had “bloodshot eyes” and was showing signs of being impaired. He told them that he had been at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant earlier, watching the Falcons game and drinking beer. They performed a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer, which showed Autry’s BAC was 0.195, more than twice the legal limit.

Because of that, they charged Autry with driving under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He was arrested and taken to the Henry County jail and bonded out shortly before midnight the same night.

On Thursday, just days after the incident, Autry announced he would retire from his position as superintendent.

“Although this was not an easy decision, I must put my family and personal circumstances first at this time,” Autry said in a statement through the school district.

While Rockdale County Schools would not comment publicly on the DUI charge because of pending litigation, the district directed 11Alive to its drug-free workplace policy.

That policy states, “The Board hereby declares that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, use, or being under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol is prohibited in the workplace for all school system employees.  A violation of this policy or a conviction under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 may result in termination of employment.”

Autry was with the district for almost 2 decades, serving in various roles within the district, including as a teacher, coach, principal, and others. He was credited with several successes in the district.

“We wish Mr. Autry the best with his retirement,” said school Board Chairman Jim McBrayer. “We appreciate all that he has done for the children and families of Rockdale County over the years.”

Autry’s retirement is effective Oct. 30.

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