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Former Callaway County sheriff now faces revocation of law enforcement license


The state’s public safety director will soon decide whether to punish suspended Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism for a series of incidents involving Chism drinking alcohol on and off the clock.

The state’s Administrative Hearing Commission decided on Feb. 16 that there was enough evidence for the Department of Public Safety to take action against Chism’s license. Both Chism’s attorney and the Department of Public Safety agreed that Chism had on at least three occasions been caught or confronted for drinking alcohol.

It is now up to DPS Director Sandy Karsten to decide what punishment that might be, which might include revocation of his license. A hearing on the issue is set for March 11.

Judge Brouck Jacobs removed Chism from office in June after county officials confronted Chism about buying and drinking liquor on the job that month. The complaint filed by Callaway County Prosecutor Ben Miller also mentions a meeting in March in which Judge Chris Wilson and Chief Deputy Darryl Maylee asked Chism about him drinking before work that day. The state suspended his peace officer’s license, which a sheriff must have by law, on June 9.

Chism was arrested and charged for driving while intoxicated in Randolph County in October 2022. Chism was charged with DWI and resisting arrest but the prosecutor dropped the resisting charge when Chism pleaded guilty in December 2023.

ABC 17 News obtained body camera footage of the Oct. 6, 2022, arrest from Moberly police. Chism can be seen on surveillance video driving his truck into a set of concrete barriers at the entrance of a parking lot. He then backs up and hits them again. Employees at the Moberly Travel Center called police after seeing Chism stumble around his parked truck around 7 p.m.

Officers arrived at the Moberly Travel Center parking lot just before 8 p.m. The two officers found Chism lying in the driver’s seat of a truck with an open Mike’s Harder Lemonade in the console. Chism told officers he was “good” when they asked if he was OK.

“Well, right now, you’re past a little bit of good,” the officer responds, pointing out the vomit she observed around the truck.

Chism responds to many of the officers’ questions and requests by saying he was not driving and did not have the truck’s keys in the ignition. Columbia DUI attorney Ben Faber said that whether the car is running is a key element of a case.

“If the car’s turned over, if the engine is running, then you’re operating,” Faber said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in gear, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the highway, in a parking lot, if you’re in a car that’s running and you’re drunk, then you’re [driving while intoxicated].”

Four minutes into the interaction, one of the officers tells Chism to get out of the truck. Chism sits in his seat, repeating the fact that the car was not on.

The second officer then reaches into the truck and pulls Chism out. Chism can be seen holding onto the steering wheel while the officer pulls him. The officer gets Chism out of the vehicle on the third pull.

“I am not resisting,” Chism said while officers put handcuffs on him.

Moberly police never recorded a blood-alcohol content for Chism during the arrest. Chism refused to take a breath test when asked and Moberly police did not pursue a search warrant to get his blood for analysis. The sergeant on duty wrote that getting a blood draw would likely take one of the officers away from responding to calls for at least an hour.

Faber said it’s not uncommon for him to see departments forgo a blood draw if they have enough evidence already of intoxication.

“I don’t think they needed breath or blood,” Faber said. “I don’t think they needed a number to prosecute Mr. Chism successfully. I think the video sort of speaks for itself.”

A lack of a recorded BAC does mean that Chism may have avoided mandatory jail time. Missouri state law says that a person with at least a 0.15 BAC will serve two days in jail, while a BAC of 0.20 or higher mandates five days in jail. The level for DWI is 0.08.

Faber estimated based on the video that this could have been a case of an elevated BAC.

“So Mr. Chism, by refusing a chemical test, it appears that he avoided some jail time,” Faber said.

The agreement between the state and Chism said that Callaway County officials confronted Chism about his drinking on March 28 and again on June 6. In the March incident, Chism admitted that he drank alcohol before driving his patrol car. Chief Deputy Daryl Maylee found him asleep in his patrol car that morning.

In June, Chism met with prosecutor Ben Miller, Judge Chris Wilson and Maylee about reports that Chism had bought and drank vodka while on duty.

Chism’s removal case is still pending in Callaway County court. Miller declined to comment on the Administrative Hearing Commission’s decision or the Moberly police details. Miller said he is working with Chism’s lawyer, James Towey, on when to proceed with the removal.

“I have also given him all of my available dates for the coming year for any possible depositions, pre-trial hearings, and/or a trial,” Miller said. “Mr. Towey will now need to provide me with his available dates, and then we will jointly submit all of the dates to the Court and get a formal scheduling order.”

Neither Towey nor Chism responded to a request for comment.

Chism continued to receive pay from Callaway County from his June suspension until February when the county commission suspended his pay. Commission members did not respond to a request for comment.

Article Topic Follows: ABC 17 News Investigates

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors 6 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.. shows for ABC 17 News and reports on the investigative stories.


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