Marco Island IT specialist placed on administrative leave after DUI, heroin possession arrest

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
CIty of Marco Island IT specialist Anthony Chiaradonna was arrested during the workday on the charges of driving under the influence and possession of heroin on Friday, Jan. 11.

The city of Marco Island has placed its IT specialist on unpaid administrative leave following his arrest on DUI and multiple drug possession charges last week.

Anthony Chiaradonna, 41, faces charges of driving under the influence with property damage, possession of a controlled substance, possession of heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia after was arrested just before 1 p.m., Friday, in conjunction with police receiving calls of a reckless driver on Marco Island.

Once Marco Island police located Chiaradonna's vehicle, they observed his vehicle strike the rear bumper of a parked car while barely missing four other parked vehicles, the police report stated.

Chiaradonna told police when he was stopped that he was heading back to work. City Clerk Laura Litzan confirmed Chiaradonna, who is a salaried employee and therefore is not required to punch in and out, had reported for work that day.

Chiaradonna was taken into custody after failing a field sobriety test and during a search of his vehicle, police recovered a short drinking straw containing a powdery substance that was later confirmed to be heroin. Five film packages allegedly containing the controlled substance Suboxone were also recovered.

During the 20-minute observation period before a breathe test was administered, Chiaradonna told officers that he had not been drinking but had inhaled heroin, which he said he had been addicted to since 2006.

Chiaradonna declined providing a drug or urine sample required for a drug evaluation, prompting automatic issuance of the DUI charge.

Payroll records show Chiaradonna has been employed with the city since Dec. 17, 2012.

His arrest last week, however, was not his first brush with law enforcement.

Prior to being hired by the city, Chiaradonna pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge in 2009 in which he was accused of punching and throwing the stepfather of his daughter into a wall at a YMCA.

In a witness's sworn statement, she wrote that the alleged victim was walking down the hallway, holding Chiaradonna's daughter's hand before being repeatedly struck.

Chiaradonna was sentenced to 20 days in county jail, 12 months probation and restitution as part of his plea agreement.

Chiaradonna also pleaded no contest to two charges of driving while his license was suspended or revoked in the 1998 and 1999.