Milton High School's Principal John Buhl resigned Wednesday, July 30, 2014. The resignation comes just one day after he was released from jail for DUI arrests in two Georgia counties.
According to police in Forsyth County and Cherokee County, Nathan John Buhl, 37, of Canton, has been accused of causing two wrecks Saturday night. Both accidents have resulted in criminal charges.
Deputy Robin Regan reports that Buhl allegedly left the scene after he struck a parked car in northern Forsyth County around 10 p.m.
When the Forsyth deputies called the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office with this information, a Cherokee investigator confirmed they were looking into a separate wreck involving the same car and individual. Meanwhile, Buhl was being treated at a hospital for injuries resulting from the Cherokee accident. Forsyth deputies found him there and determined he was under the influence of alcohol.
Forsyth officers have arrested and charged Buhl with Leaving The Scene of an Accident, Striking An Unattended Vehicle, and Failure To Maintain Lane. Buhl was booked into the Forsyth County jail, and after posting his $8,525 bond, he surrendered to the Cherokee County jail to be processed on the separate cases pending there.
In Cherokee County, the police have charged Mr. Buhl with DUI, Reckless Driving, Failure to Maintain Lane, and Operating An Unsafe Vehicle. He was released from Cherokee County Jail on Tuesday after he posted a $3,551 bond.
The next day, Buhl resigned from his job as principal of Milton High School. Buhl wrote in an email obtained by Channel 2 Action News, "I am humbled and ashamed, after making the worst decisions of my life Saturday night."
Buhl made his situation far worse by leaving the scene. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270, Hit And Run; Duty Of Driver To Stop At Or Return To Scene Of Accident states:
The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or the death of any person or in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident or shall stop as close thereto as possible and forthwith return to the scene of the accident
For each misdemeanor count of either DUI or Hit and Run Buhl will be facing up to 12 months and $1000 fine. He will also face the licensing consequences of two DUI convictions, plus the Hit and Run. As a result, if convicted of three major misdemeanor traffic offenses he could be declared a Habitual Violator from one series of actions.
Buhl's case illustrates the effect a DUI arrest can have on your life. He has not yet been convicted, and he has already resigned from his job as principal.
Also, he is facing 2 DUI arrests from essentially one continuing criminal act. The consequences for a second Georgia DUI are far more severe than a first arrest. Had he simply stayed on the scene in Cherokee County, he would never have been charged with drunk driving in Forsyth County.
My opinion is that this case should be treated as a single criminal act and not prosecuted for two DUI's. I think it is entirely unfair to give a person two DUI charges from one trip in an automobile.