No change in employment status for Marco purchasing manager after weekend arrest

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
Lina Upham, purchasing and risk manager for the city of Marco Island, was arrested Saturday night on the charge of DUI.

Acting Marco Island City Manager Guillermo Polanco has yet to determine Purchasing and Risk Manager Lina Upham's fate following her arrest over the weekend.

Collier County Sheriff's Office deputies placed Upham, 35, under arrest on suspicion of DUI Saturday evening after Upham allegedly crashed her SUV into the water near Collier Boulevard and Championship Drive earlier in the day.

Polanco said Monday evening that there was no change in Upham's employment status and that it was premature to make any decision without having the opportunity to meet with her first.

Polanco declined further comments.

Upham's tenure with the city began in 2010 as an intern while she was a student at Hodges University. Shortly thereafter, she was hired to a full-time position in the Growth Management Department before transitioning to the finance department, where she rose to her current position.

Payroll records indicate Upham's salary is currently $67,800. Her salary next year could rise more than $2,000 if the City Council approves a three percent raise for all employees. 

In addition to the DUI charge, deputies also cited Upham with careless driving.

Multiple witnesses noted that Upham was traveling north up Collier Boulevard when her vehicle crossed the median into ongoing traffic and crashed into the mangroves, according to the incident report.

Deputies found vehicle tracks and upturned grass in the median to support the eyewitness accounts.

A good samaritan helped Upham out of the car but noted the odor of alcohol and that Upham had an "unsteady gaze and balance."

The report also stated that prior to Upham's transport to Physicians Regional Medical Center, she told Collier County EMS Lt. Yanaris Bassing reported that she was drunk and should not have been driving.

Upham told the deputies that her Tinder date was driving the vehicle while she was performing a sex act on him.

Three witnesses to the crash, including one that instructed Upham to turn off the engine while she was in the driver's seat, denied that anyone else was in the car.

At the hospital, deputies observed "Upham's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, her speech was slurred and it seemed difficult for her to stay focused on one topic, and her movements were slow and labored" before pulling the IV out of her arm and trying to leave. 

Although Upham refused a breath test at the Naples Jail Center, blood taken while she was at the hospital revealed a BAC of .318, nearly four times the legal limit to drive, according to a crash report completed by the Sheriff's Office.

Upham was released from jail Sunday after $1,000 bond was posted. Her next court appearance is set for Aug. 1.

Upham told deputies she had come from the Marco Island Brewery, which positively identified her as a patron on Saturday after seeing her mugshot.

Staff from the brewery noted that Upham was alone and left the restaurant around 1:33 p.m. without closing out her bill.

"She didn't seem intoxicated in the least," one staff member said. "She had a couple of drinks, but nothing that would differentiate her from any other person."