ABC agent resigned after accusations of drinking, driving - Tucson News Now

ABC agent resigned after accusations of drinking, driving state car

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A special agent in charge at the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission resigned after accusations he twice drank alcohol before driving a state vehicle, avoided a sobriety checkpoint after drinking and used his state vehicle to drive to spend the night with a woman.

In a statement to the Channel 4 I-Team through his lawyer, Matt Larkins denied improperly using his state vehicle and that he "chose to resign rather than continue to confront mean-spirited office politics and bureaucratic infighting."

A Channel 4 I-Team investigation found this isn't the first time Larkins has faced disciplinary action for allegedly repeatedly misusing his state vehicle on weekends and holidays.

In 2011, when asked specifically by an ABC superior if he used his state vehicle to drive to meet a friend at a hotel to watch a pay-per-view fight, Larkins can be heard on taped audio of the conversation admitting to using the car for personal reasons.

"I use that vehicle for personal use. I'm not trying to make excuses for my actions. I'm just trying to give explanations for what took place and expose the truth," Larkins said.

Larkins said in his statement to the Channel 4 I-Team that despite all the accusations, the ABC ultimately trusted him enough to lead their largest law enforcement office.

Larkins' attorney also pointed out the lengths the ABC went to in order to investigate their own agents, including the fact that a satellite tracking device was used to track Larkins in 2011.

As for the incident that led to his resignation this month, investigators claim that Larkins drank two beers and then drove his state vehicle to an undercover operation. Investigators wrote that when Larkins approached a sobriety checkpoint on Carothers Parkway, he turned his vehicle in the opposite direction and avoided the checkpoint.

Larkins said in his statement that he never acted improperly with his state vehicle, denied avoiding a checkpoint and said it all happened on his day off.

"Apparently, the state doesn't want you to protect the public if you're not on the clock," Larkins said in his statement.

An attorney for the ABC declined comment, saying it was an ongoing investigation.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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