Marine released from Mexican jail after 7 months arrested in Twin City on DUI, reckless driving charges
TWIN CITY, GA (WTOC) - A little more than four months after being released from a Mexican prison, Marine Reservist Andrew Paul Tahmooressi was arrested in Twin City on Wednesday night after a routine traffic stop.
Tahmooressi's seven month imprisonment made international headlines after he claimed to have made a wrong turn at the Mexican border before being arrested in Tijuana for carrying guns into the country.
But on Oct. 31, a Mexican judge ruled that Tahmooressi, who did two tours of duty in Afghanistan, be released so he could return to the United States to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tahmooressi was arrested about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday by Twin City Police after a routine traffic stop on the 2008 Nissan Altima he was driving. He was charged with the misdemeanor traffic offenses of driving under the influence, reckless driving, improper passing and open container violation, according to Emanuel County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy, Rocky Davis.
Tahmooressi was transported to the Emanuel County Sheriff's Detention Center without incident and was held overnight.
Now Tahmooressi is free again, and his overnight stay here at the Emanuel County Jail was far briefer and drew less attention than his seven month stint in a Mexican prison that prompted petitions, a congressional hearing and U.S. State Department intervention.
"It ain't doing nothing but embarrassing the boy," said Twin City Police Chief Johnny Lane. "And he's got enough on him to embarrass him now."
Tahmooressi was arrested on Wednesday night in Twin City and charged with driving under the influence.
"They said he was running 70, 80 miles an hour when he come through here," Lane said.
According to law enforcement, he was traveling by the police station in downtown Twin City, which has a speed limit of 35 miles per hour.
"He said he had a lot on his mind, that he and his girlfriend had just broke up," said Lane.
Police said Tahmooressi had an open beer in the car. He refused a breathalyzer test and was released on bond Thursday afternoon. Surveillance video showed Tahmooressi running from the Emanuel County Jail to avoid a news camera.
Tahmooressi did two tours of duty in Afghanistan before being arrested after crossing into Mexico with loaded weapons. He said it was an accident after he made a wrong turn.
Jonathan Franks, the spokesman for Tahmooressi, made several posts to Twitter about Wednesday night's arrest.
"[This] must be seen in the context of one who continues to struggle with PTSD," Franks said via Twitter.
According to the Emanuel County Sheriff's Office, Tahmooressi has no prior U.S. criminal history. He was freed on a $4,000 bond.
Below are tweets from Franks about Tahmoorressi's arrest:
We are aware that Andrew Tahmooressi is under arrest for various traffic related offenses. The family again reminds all he is suffering from a significant mental illness and respectfully requests privacy. We all remain committed to getting him the help he needs.
We certainly ask for and invite prayers for the Tahmooressi family during this difficult time. Consistent with Andrew's privacy, we will make every effort to be as forthcoming as possible. Please understand however, our primary goal is getting him the help he needs, and ensuring he is not held up to undue public scrutiny as the result of his mental illness.
I am confirming that Andrew Tahmooressi has been released from custody. He is very appreciative of the professionalism of the involved Sheriff's Department during the course of his custody. This incident must be seen in the context of one who continues to struggle with PTSD. We are fully committed to ensuring he gets the help he needs and the family continues to respectfully request privacy.
I'd like to ask my colleagues in the media to remember Andrew #Tahmooressi is suffering from a severe mental illness as the proximate result of serving his country with distinction - he is not something shiny for you to hold up to ridicule tabloid style. This neither justifies viral coverage nor chasing him with cameras. The family and those of us around him are committed to getting him the care he needs and, to be frank, over dramatization of this by the press is not helping here. This young man does not deserve to be held up to ridicule as the result of his mental illness.
Further, the family very much appreciates the sensitivity with which the particular Sheriff's Office that operates the jail has handled.