We are learning more about the public servant who name-dropped two major public figures during a DUI traffic stop. Christine Deramo was pulled over earlier this month. She is Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass’ assistant.
Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies say she tried to use his name to avoid going to jail.
WINK News finally heard from Pendergrass about the incident, and he told us to contact the county’s public information officer about county HR issues.
Deramo’s name-dropping was insufficient to keep the Lee County Sheriff’s Office from posting her name and face on its arrest page.
“While she herself is not a public official, she is the direct assistant for someone that is,” said Lance Dunford, a criminal defense attorney.
According to her arrest report, she tried to use her boss’ name to get out of a DUI. After the deputy pulled Deramo over on Alico Road on January 7, the deputy said Deramo said she, “Didn’t want to put the deputy in a bad position.”
A little later, the deputy said Deramo asked if was too late to call Carmine, a clear reference to Sheriff Carmine Marceno.
Defense Attorney Lance Dunford, who is not affiliated with this case, said, in his opinion, Deramo made a big mistake.
“She doesn’t get any special rights per se, said Dunford. “The consequences that she’s going to be facing if she doesn’t handle this situation the right way are very real.”
Dunford said he believes the sheriff’s office and the deputy made the right call.
“The officer that arrested her is a very experienced officer. So there’s some small details that I noticed the officer puts in there that a lot of deputies, just on a cursory review of a police report, might leave out,” said Dunford.
The deputy made it clear that Deramo refused to take a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer. She has hired an attorney, who also did not answer WINK News’ calls or emails.