Sheriff Bill Rasco

Sheriff Bill Rasco

DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco has admitted to helping a young man by intervening on his behalf after a DUI arrest.

According to a report aired by WATN Local Memphis, police records show that in February of 2020, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department discovered an 18-year-old man unconscious at the wheel at the intersection of Byhalia Road and Foxwood Circle. Surveillance video shows the man being taken into custody at the Hernando Police Department for an intoxilyzer test. The intoxilyzer at the sheriff’s department was reported broken at that time. Hernando Police Chief Scott Worsham reported the intoxilyzer results as .14 which for a juvenile is seven times the legal limit.

Video shows a report being written by a sheriff’s deputy on February 27, 2020, but according to the date on the police report, it wasn’t written until two weeks after the incident. The report only appeared after it was requested by the Hernando Police Department for their records.

The report written in February reportedly had the name of DeSoto County Justice Court Judge Russell on it.

WATN Local Memphis filed a records request with the sheriff’s department for the mugshot, arrest ticket and any related documentation proving the man was ever booked into jail or charged with a DUI. The reporter was told the information did not exist even though the DCSD report said the man was taken to jail and processed.

The reporter also discovered that records were never filed with the DeSoto County Justice Court that a DUI arrest took place.

Court Clerk Pat Sanford told Local 24 News, “I just know it’s not in our system. There was no case filed. We don’t have a record of it here. That (report) number is just not in our system.”

The 18-year-old’s mother and sister work at the sheriff’s department.

Reporter Jeni Diprizio asked Sheriff Rasco why the case did not proceed through the court system like any other case. 

Rasco admitted he was doing the young man’s family a favor.  “Well, I wanted to help the young man out and that’s what I decided to do.” 

Diprizio then asked Rosco if there were other cases where he had given other people the same treatment.

Rasco again admitted that he had intervened in other cases.

“There are cases I have given people the treatment, yes. Gotten them out of jail, sure has.”

Sheriff Rasco released a statement on Wednesday reiterating his stance that he intervened to help the young man get his life back on track.

“As many of the citizens of DeSoto County know, I am deeply committed to providing a road to recovery for individuals with drug and alcohol dependency. On a regular basis, I do my part to help put offenders on a path to a successful life. I do this because like many of you, my family has been personally affected by chemical dependency, and it breaks my heart to watch the destruction of families when I have the resources to provide a long term solution to the problem. In this incident, I exercised my discretion and removed this young man from my jail in hopes that I could help put him on the right path. I would like to make it clear that he did not get off without stiff consequences, he has paid his debt to society, and he is leading a successful life now. I sincerely hope that DeSoto County understands my stance on this matter, and I have the full intention of continuing to help individuals get out of the correctional facility system and into systems that provide them, their families, and the community success,” Rasco said in a statement.

The DeSoto Times-Tribune attempted to get clarification on Rasco’s statement, but DCSD Public Information Officer Tish Clark said the department would be answering no more questions on the matter.


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