StarkeJournal.com

A service of the Bradford County Telegraph, Inc.

1962: Lawtey Marshal disappears, Butch Jordan sworn-in

(Photo of Lawtey Police Chief Millard M. “Butch” Jordan)

Lawtey’s Marshal was arrested for driving while intoxicated Friday afternoon, March 30, 1962.  The official then disappeared and the town’s City Council appointed 23-year-old Millard M. “Butch” Jordan as his replacement.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Marshal Sumpter Harley was in his Lawtey Patrol car and wearing his uniform when a trooper spotted the cruiser weaving from one side of the road to the other, as it passed Starke’s  highway patrol  station, on U.S. Highway 301.  A sergeant for FHP described the marshal’s arrest as a routine DWI case.

That same day, the Lawtey Council suspended the official for 30 days, for unauthorized use of  the city’s patrol car.

The Marshal later pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, and was sentenced to a $500 fine or six months in jail.  His driver license was also revoked for one year.

But instead of paying the $500, Harley posted a bond with Sheriff P.D. Reddish.  The Sheriff told Harley to return with two guarantors for the bond, but the marshal never came back.  Judge T.A. Yawn issued an arrest warrant for the the official but Reddish said he couldn’t serve the document because Harley had disappeared.

The incident in front of Starke’s FHP station wasn’t   Sumpter Harley’s first brush with the law.  In 1961 he was convicted of public intoxication after a fight at the home of former Lawtey Marshal Mitchell Brown.

Brown himself, also resigned the city’s top law enforcement post under a cloud, after his involvement in a brawl at Starke gas station.  One man was shot in the incident, however no charges was filed.

The Lawtey council subsequently extended Harley’s suspension to include the rest of his term, and ten men applied to fill the vacancy.  Mayor Charles R. Shuford selected Millard M. “Butch” Jordan from the pool.

The 23-year-old came to Bradford County in 1957, and served on Starke’ police force for two years.

May 7th, 2012 will mark Jordan’s 50th year in office.

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