Dunwoody police spokesman charged with DUI after neighborhood crash

Sgt. Robert Parsons

Credit: City of Dunwoody / DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

Credit: City of Dunwoody / DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

Sgt. Robert Parsons

A sergeant who acts as the spokesman for the Dunwoody Police Department is in jail after being charged with a DUI.

Sgt. Robert Parsons, 37, crashed his vehicle along Sumac Drive near Arrie Way just before midnight Tuesday, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Dunwoody police officers responded to the single-vehicle crash in the residential neighborhood, but called for state troopers to investigate since it involved a fellow officer.

Parsons, who was off-duty at the time and driving his personal vehicle, hit a utility pole, troopers said. He faces a count of DUI and a driving citation.

The state patrol told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they’ve yet to get Parsons’ blood alcohol level results from the time of the incident, but troopers at the scene determined alcohol played a factor in the crash.

Georgia law allows for drivers to face a DUI charge as long as drug or alcohol consumption makes it “less safe for the person to drive,” meaning it’s possible to face a DUI charge with a blood alcohol level below the legal limit of 0.08.

Parsons remained at the DeKalb County Jail on Thursday morning.

Parsons was placed on administrative leave, and an internal affairs investigation is being conducted, according to a news release by the city. Discipline will be determined based on the findings of the internal investigation.

“Although innocent until proven guilty is the foundation of our legal system, I am greatly concerned that it appears like one of the leaders of our department made a terrible choice to drink and drive,” Dunwoody police Chief Billy Grogan said in the release. “As law enforcement officers, we are and should be held to the highest standards of conduct whether on or off duty. We will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident and the actions of our officer.”

All further questions were referred to the Georgia State Patrol.

This is not Parsons’ first DUI incident. According to Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) records, he was charged with a DUI, speeding and failing to maintain his lane in July 2018. Records show he served a probation sentence that ended in March 2021.

Parsons, a 12-year veteran with Dunwoody police, has also received statewide recognition. The Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police named him as the state’s outstanding police supervisor of 2021.

— AJC data specialist Jennifer Peebles contributed to this report.