Sheriff Sumner commits criminal speeding during an administrative trip

Photo Courtesy Greenlee County: Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner’s patrol vehicle log showed he traveled more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit 182 times during an administrative trip to the Phoenix area on June 30, with 23 times being criminal speed of more than 20 mph over the limit, including a high of 39 mph over the posted speed limit. The log denotes the speed of the patrol vehicle in one-minute increments.

By Jon Johnson

jonjohnsonnews@gmail.com

DUNCAN – For someone who is supposed to uphold the law, Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner appears to spend a good amount of time breaking at least one aspect. 

After being clocked traveling at 106 mph in a 65-mph zone on U.S. Highway 70 in October of 2019, Sheriff Sumner advised that he would not speed again unless warranted. However, a data log from his patrol vehicle for June 30, 2021, shows that Sumner exceeded the speed limit by 10 mph or more 182 times on a day involving an administrative trip to the Phoenix area. The log also shows Sumner committed criminal speeding 23 times during the trip, including exceeding the speed limit by 39 mph by going 89 mph in a 50-mph zone through Bylas. Anything 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit is considered criminal speeding and law enforcement will book violators in the jail for doing so. The log denotes the speed of Sumner’s patrol vehicle in one-minute increments.

The previous speeding incident came to light after a deputy filed a grievance with the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors for harassment against her. 

“Tim Sumner has created a hostile work environment,” the deputy wrote in the grievance. “I no longer feel I can come to work without being harassed by him. His conduct is intentional, severe, recurring, and interferes with my ability to perform my job.”

The deputy is no longer with the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office, and Sumner was re-elected sheriff in November 2020 by a thin margin in a crowded field of four applicants. 

On June 30, an off-duty officer was eastbound on U.S. Highway 60 when Sumner passed him just west of Superior. The off-duty officer then paced Sumner’s vehicle as it sped through the mountain area toward Top-of-the-World. The notes shown in the video are reflective of what Sumner’s own vehicle log denotes.  

Video of Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner committing criminal speeding while traveling home from the Phoenix area.

Law enforcement can, of course, break speed limits when necessary such as responding to a call or chasing a suspect, but not on a simple administrative trip to the Valley or when just going to the office. The June 30 log shows Sumner committing criminal speeding after leaving his residence and traveling on Highway 75; while on U.S. Highway 191 toward Clifton twice; while going through Pima by traveling at 65 mph in a 45 mph-zone; while going through Fort Thomas by traveling at 72 mph in a 45 mph-zone; the aforementioned 89 mph in a 50-mph zone in Bylas and by going 96 mph in a 65 mph-zone after exiting Bylas westbound; along U.S. 70 westbound and multiple more times as he travels on U.S. Highway 60, 101 Loop, and the 202 Loop. The criminal speeding happened both on his way to his administrative meeting in the Phoenix area and on his way back home to Duncan, however, he did not commit criminal speeding on his way back home as he traveled through Bylas, Fort Thomas, Pima, Thatcher, and Safford, and only exceeded the speed limit by 10 mph or more but less than 20 mph.  

The log also lists erratic driving and notes that Sumner committed 10 “hard turns” during his trip and five “hard brakes.”

Sheriff Sumner did not respond to the Gila Herald’s request for comment on his travel log. 

Sheriff Sumner’s travel log for the date in question is attached to this report with his address redacted. 

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