KINGSPORT — Just days after his second arrest for driving under the influence, Alderman Jantry Shupe has resigned from the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
"It is with deep regret and heartfelt sadness that I submit my letter of resignation to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen," the letter states. "While I enjoy serving the citizens of Kingsport, it is very important that I take some time to deal with personal matters for me and my family."
Shupe submitted the letter to Mayor Dennis Phillips Monday afternoon.
Shupe was first elected to the BMA in 2007 and again in 2011.
In the letter, he said that serving on the BMA has been one of the greatest honors in his life.
"I am very proud of all of the accomplishments the city has achieved during my time on the Board and hope that in some small way I played a part in that success," Shupe wrote. "I look forward to serving in various leadership capacities for my community at some point in the future."
Shupe did not return phone calls from the Times-News on Monday seeking further comment.
Alderman Tom Parham, a close friend of Shupe's, said "As a board member, I have great concern for Jantry."
The Tennessee Highway Patrol arrested Shupe Friday night, charging him with DUI and violation of implied consent. According to the THP report, Shupe made an abrupt turn on Stone Drive and Brookside Drive before being pulled over on Pavilion Drive.
The trooper wrote in the report that Shupe's vehicle had a strong odor of alcohol and Shupe struggled to maintain his balance during field sobriety tests. After being transported to Indian Path Medical Center, Shupe refused a blood draw.
Kingsport attorney Andy Law waived the arraignment of Shupe in General Sessions Court on Monday. Judge Ray Conkin set a trial date of September 4 at 1 p.m. before Judge Mark Toohey. The trial is scheduled to take place in Kingsport.
Last week's DUI arrest marks the second one for Shupe in just over a year. In June 2013, Kingsport police charged Shupe with DUI, violation of implied consent and failure to move over for lights and sirens.
Judge J. Klyne Lauderback found Shupe guilty of the implied consent and flashing lights charge, but dismissed the DUI charge, saying officers failed to preserve the evidence by dumping out Shupe's "tea" and by not reading Shupe his Miranda rights.
Lauderback agreed for Shupe to have a restricted driver's license.
Since the first of the year, Shupe has attended only six of 14 regular BMA meetings and five of 19 BMA work sessions, including none where the budget was discussed. On several occasions, Shupe has publicly explained his absence by saying work has prevented him from attending the meetings.
Last year, Shupe and Weston Leonard (CEO of Elixir Media Group) founded and opened a new funeral home — Trinity Memorial Centers — off John B. Dennis Highway. Last month, Shupe confirmed he was a co-owner of TMC, but on Monday Leonard said he bought out Shupe's interest in TMC in March or April and another funeral director stepped in at that time.
Though Shupe still helps out at TMC, Shupe's profile on the TMC website was removed within the past two weeks, Leonard said.
Jantry Shupe has resigned his position as an alderman for the city of Kingsport.
He submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Dennis Phillips this afternoon.
In the letter he says: "It is with deep regret and heartfelt sadness that I submit my letter of resignation to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen. While I enjoy serving the citizens of Kingsport, it is very important that I take some time to deal with personal matters for me and my family."
Shupe's resignation comes just days after his second arrest for driving under the influence. He was arrested late Friday night by a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper after he made an "abrupt right turn" onto an East Stone Drive ramp.
Shupe allegedly struggled to maintain his balance during field sobriety tests, saying he could not perform them.
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