A reserve Tahlequah police officer was arrested and subsequently released from his duties after he was found unresponsive behind the wheel and admitted to drinking 12 beers.

On Feb. 9, Tahlequah Police Officer Michael Gray was called to check on a driver who appeared to be asleep in the driver’s seat of a truck. Billy Sunday Jr. had partially parked halfway on a curb and in the road on East Downing Street as other officers arrived.

Witnesses said he was unresponsive when they checked on him, but he finally awoke and got out of the truck. The witnesses also said they had seen Sunday cross the center line and almost strike another vehicle head-on before he drove up on a curb, barely missing a light pole.

Reports indicate Sunday reeked of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet. Sunday admitted to other officers he had too much drink and that he had consumed about 12 beers at his house.

Sunday agreed to perform a series of standardized field sobriety tests. Gray said the other man swayed back and fourth significantly and could not follow simple instructions. During the walk-and-turn portion of the test, Sunday lost his balance several times, and the test wasn’t completed.

“While doing vehicle inventory of Billy’s truck, I found a loaded black Glock 43x next to the console of the driver’s seat,” Gray said in the police report. “The handgun had one round in the chamber and 10 rounds in the magazine.”

Sunday was taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center and booked for actual physical control and possession of a loaded firearm while intoxicated.

Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King confirmed that Sunday was released as a reserve officer following his arrest.

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