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Putnam County Coroner Hicks no longer coroner

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Putnam County Coroner Brian Hicks submitted his resignation from his two jobs with the county after he was found intoxicated while on duty. Putnam County Manager Paul Van Haute said Hicks submitted his resignation Thursday, March 19, as an EMT with the county's Emergency Medical Service and as the Putnam County Coroner. Van Haute said Hicks also submitted an affidavit of withdrawal as a candidate for coroner in the upcoming election. 

"I am disappointed this happened, and I hope he will be ok personally," Van Haute said. 

Putnam EMS Director John Murphey called Putnam County Sheriff's Office on Monday, March 16, around 7:30 p.m. and requested a deputy come to EMS Station 8 "to analyze an employee's breath for alcohol," according to a report by Deputy Mark Adams. 

Describing the incident in his report, Adams wrote that he went inside the station to the coroner's office, and Deputy Coroner Cooper Rainey unlocked the door to let him inside. Adams said he saw Hicks sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the office and could smell the odor of alcoholic beverage coming from him. 

When awakened, Hicks reportedly stated that he had not had a drink in about "three to four hours." Hicks voluntarily submitted to provide a breath sample for an Intoxylizer breathalizer. The result was 0.246. 

Hicks, formerly the deputy coroner, was appointed coroner several months ago when then-Coroner Gary McElhenney resigned. Van Haute said he is in the process of submitting Hicks' resignation to the governor via Probate Judge Karen Owen. He said she will meet with Putnam's two deputy coroners -- Rainey and Hollis Harison -- and a decision will be made on who will be coroner until a new one is elected to take office in January.