More MS news articles for July 2002

Suspended Effingham sheriff arrested on prescription drug charges

District attorney files petition seeking to have Jay Space removed permanently from office

Thursday, July 11, 2002
By Charles Cochran
Savannah Morning News

Suspended Effingham County Sheriff Jay Space was arrested Wednesday on charges that he illegally used prescription drugs, and the county's district attorney filed a petition seeking to have him permanently removed from office.

Space was arrested at his home, said GBI spokesman John Bankhead in Atlanta.

Bankhead said Space was booked in Effingham County jail on five felony drug counts and bonded out. Space is suspected of possessing various prescription drugs that weren't prescribed to him, Bankhead said.

Additional charges could follow pending results of the state investigation, Bankhead said.

Ogeechee Circuit District Attorney Joe Martin followed through with a petition seeking to have Space removed from office, officials said.

"I feel for Sheriff Space. I hate that all this has come about," Effingham Commission Chairman Phillip King said.

The 40-year-old Space was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year, and county officials say the disease and medication have rendered him unable to perform his duties.

Gov. Roy Barnes issued an executive order June 18 suspending Space for 60 days based on a recommendation from an investigatory panel that included two sheriffs and Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

Richard Bush, a lieutenant in the sheriff's department, was appointed interim sheriff.

Inquiries to the Effingham County Sheriff's Department were referred to political consultant David Simons, who said that Space is assessing the situation.

"I think this goes back to the fact that Jay's former chief deputy has gone to work for the district attorney's office. This is basically a situation of a former trusted employee turning his back on his employer," Simons said.

Simons was referring to Rick Dailey, a former major in the sheriff's department. Dailey has an unlisted phone number and could not be reached for comment.

Space could not be reached for comment.

Reporter Anne Hart contributed to this reporter

Government reporter Charles Cochran may be reached at 652-0396.

Copyright 2002 Savannah Morning News