The omission of a deputy's signature on a form during the DUI arrest of a Lawrence High School assistant principal was a clerical error, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.
The error means the state can't suspend assistant principal Jan Gentry's license pending the outcome of her criminal case, but she still could have it suspended if she is convicted of DUI.
Spokeswoman Lt. Kari Wempe said Thursday that supervisors at the sheriff's department have "reaffirmed with the officers that every report and form must be fully and accurately completed."
"Errors do happen, and when they're brought to our attention, we make sure everyone learns that lesson and we move forward," she said.
Wempe said she could not discuss whether any action was taken against the deputy who failed to sign the form because it was a personnel matter.
In Gentry's DUI arrest last month, the deputy failed to sign a piece of administrative paperwork that went to the Division of Motor Vehicles documenting Gentry's failure of a chemical test. Had the form been completed properly, the agency could have suspended Gentry's license for 30 days, starting 30 days after the incident, followed by a 330-day restricted driving period.
The same suspension period would apply if Gentry is convicted of DUI. She is scheduled to have a first appearance Monday in Douglas County District Court.
State law calls for a 30-day suspension for a DUI conviction, with credit given for any time they've already had their license suspended by the state DMV.
In many cases, however, first-time DUI offenders are allowed to enter a diversion program, according to District Court records. That means prosecutors agree to drop charges if they meet a set of conditions and stay out of trouble.
Gentry, 53, was arrested at 10:19 p.m. May 20 on U.S. Highway 56 about one-quarter mile from the Osage County line after a deputy stopped her for a lane violation. She was taken to the Douglas County Jail and later released on $250 bond.
Gentry said in an interview earlier this week that she did not know the arresting officer, identified by the sheriff's office as Bryon Revell.
The form that's sent to the state after a DUI arrest must be filled out at the time the deputy makes the arrest and is given to the arrested party, Wempe said. Only afterward is the form reviewed by supervisors, she said.
"When the paperwork comes through, if the signature isn't there : we can't go back and add it," she said. "We've all learned from this particular situation."