Marco Island IT specialist put on administrative leave after DUI, heroin possession charges
This is a six-month review of the most-read crime stories in Collier County on naplesnews.com. Wochit
The city of Marco Island has placed its information technology 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.
He was arrested just before 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the intersection of Collier Boulevard and East Elkcam Circle after police received calls of a reckless driver on Marco Island.
Once Marco Island police located Chiaradonna's vehicle, they saw it 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.
More from Marco Island: SWAT confronts barricaded, armed man in Marco Island, Collier County Sheriff's Office says
Chiaradonna was taken into custody after failing a field sobriety test, according to the report. During a search of his vehicle, police said, they found a short drinking straw containing a powdery substance that was later confirmed to be heroin. Police said they also found five camera film canisters containing the controlled substance Suboxone.
During the 20-minute observation period before a breath 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 to provide a drug or urine sample required for a drug evaluation, prompting an automatic DUI charge.
Payroll records show Chiaradonna has worked for the city since Dec. 17, 2012.
His arrest last week 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. He was accused of punching and throwing the stepfather of his daughter into a wall at a YMCA.
In a witness' sworn statement, she wrote that the stepfather 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 1998 and 1999.