School Superintendent Jim Paul Won’t Resign After DUI Arrest; Gets Exclusive Interview

January 11, 2008


Escambia County School Superintendent Jim Paul told that he will not resign after being arrested in Pinellas County, Florida, Thursday morning and charged with DUI. In an exclusive interview, Paul said he made a mistake, and he will be punished for that mistake.

To hear Jim Paul’s exclusive interview with, click here.

In his exclusive interview with, Paul said was at a technology conference funded by Apple Computer. He said he was unable to sleep Wednesday night and decided to play the slot machines at the Hard Rock Casino. He said he had two glasses of wine about 10:30, and then went to his car about 12:30.

“You know, you’ve had a couple of drinks,” he said he told himself at his car. “You don’t need to be driving. That’s the last thing I’ll need for goodness sakes is to be pulled over…so I just sat there…and just read some emails on my Blackberry. And tried to doze for a couple of hours and I would drive back.”

He said a drunk rapped on his car window about 1:30 or 2:00 that morning. “It was kind of a drunk; then I felt silly,” he said. “What I a doing here for goodness sake?”

That’s when he started driving back, and was eventually stopped by Pinellas County deputies.

“I didn’t feel in anyway that I was unable to drive,” he told “But I’m sure everybody says that who’s had drinks and gets behind the wheel of a car.”

Paul released a statement to school district employees Friday morning. In that statement, he issued an apology to the employees and students of the district and to the community.

I have strived for the past seven years as superintendent of our school district to exhibit the highest personal standards of conduct as an example to all district stakeholders and have expected the same of our employees and students,” Paul’s statement said..Obviously, my recent actions have fallen far short of that example and I quite frankly find it difficult to find the appropriate words to relate my remorse for the shame and embarrassment I have brought to my position as the school district’s chief executive and to the school district itself.”

You can read Paul’s statement in its entirety by clicking here (pdf format).

According to a Pinellas County report obtained by, Pinellas County deputies say the incident began when they observed a rented white 2007 Chevrolet Impala speeding and weaving dramatically on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Clearwater. A sergeant assigned to the DUI Enforcement Unit stopped the vehicle and while speaking with the driver, 60-year-old James Roy Paul of Pensacola, became concerned that he was impaired.

A DUI investigation was initiated and after it was determined that Paul was impaired, he was arrested on one count of misdemeanor driving under the influence. Following his arrest, Paul was transported to the Pinellas County Jail where he was booked at 4:45 a.m. Eastern time. He was allowed to post a $500 bond at 2:34 Eastern time, after spending more than nine hours behind bars.

He submitted to a breath test which measured his breath alcohol level at 0.128. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08. During the investigation Paul was cooperative and identified himself as the Superintendent of the Escambia County School District.

Click here to see the officer’s charge report obtained by

A court date of February 6, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. has been set in Penellas County for Paul.

Paul was in the Tampa area with Paul Fetsko, an assistant superintendent, and Don Maderson, the district’s technology director, for a technology conference. Paul was alone in the car at the time of his arrest.

The 60 year old Paul was first elected superintendent in 2000 and and re-elected in 2004. His office is up for re-election this year. He qualified as Republican candidate in that election on July 19 of last year. Once other candidate, Democrat Myra L. Simmons of Pensacola has also qualified to run in that race.

Pictured above: Escambia County School Superintendent Jim Paul’s booking photograph from Thursday morning in Pinellas County obtained by


Comments are closed.