The recent arrest of Port St. Joe Commissioner William Thursbay on charges related to a DUI could mean the loss of his commission seat.

The recent arrest of Port St. Joe Commissioner William Thursbay on charges related to a DUI could mean the loss of his commission seat.

According to the city charter, a commissioner convicted of a crime must forfeit his seat.

Thursbay is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but the city charter makes no distinction regarding seriousness or type of offense.

Section 2-27 of the city ordinances (or charter) detailed that the, “Commission shall be judge of the election and qualifications of its own members subject to review by the courts.”

The final sentence of that section is to point: “Any member of the commission who shall be convicted of a crime while in office shall thereby forfeit his office.”

Thursbay was arrested earlier this month after leaving a workshop on “open container” zones.

According to an arrest report from the Port St. Joe Police Department, Thursbay, 47, faced several charges after an accident near 20th Street along a section of the Port City Trail.

Thursbay was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with property damage (refusal, meaning he refused a breathalyzer), resisting or obstructing a law enforcement officer without violence and tampering with physical evidence.

The latter charge is a third-degree felony.

Those are the charges forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office, according to public records with the Gulf County Clerk’s Office.

The time of the incident was reported by the arresting officer as 7 p.m. ET.

That is roughly 20 minutes after the adjournment of a workshop at which commissioners determined a proposal to create a “specialty district” within the business area “dead,” in the words of Mayor Bo Patterson.

During the meeting, Thursbay spoke at length, rambling and repeating himself and interrupting his fellow commissioners.

He spoke directly about individuals in the audience and afterwards sought hugs from several audience members.

After the meeting, several attendees noted Thursbay’s odd behavior.

Leaving the meeting, a car, ultimately determined to be driven by Thursbay, was observed driving down Garrison while being “all over the road” and leaving his lane at least three times, according to a witness traveling 200-300 yards behind Thursbay.

Thursbay turned at 20th and was approaching the Port City Trail just past Marvin Ave. when the vehicle abruptly made a left turn off the road.

The witness observed Thursbay exiting the vehicle.

When a Port St. Joe police officer arrived on the scene, acting on an anonymous phone tip to Police Chief Matt Herring, Thursbay was standing next to the vehicle roughly 50 yards past a trail sign warning “no motor vehicles allowed.”

Thursbay’s vehicle was damaged on the front end and was stuck on a concrete trail marker, according to the arrest report.

The officer noted a “strong odor of an intoxicating beverage” and reported Thursbay’s speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet.

Thursbay told the officer his vehicle was stuck and he needed help getting it out and acknowledged he had been drinking “earlier.”

Thursbay could not produce a driver’s license.

While the officer was relaying information to dispatch, he observed Thursbay “enter back into his vehicle and retrieve a silver metal cup and begin pouring the contents of the cup onto the ground.”

Thursbay was ordered to stop and step away from the vehicle, but refused, holding onto the steering wheel as the officer attempted to move him away from the vehicle.

Thursbay “continued his combative demeanor” by pulling his arms away as the officer was attempting to arrest him.

It required several officers to bring Thursbay under control, in handcuffs and placed in the back of a patrol unit.

The silver cup, according to the report, smelled of alcohol.

Thursbay refused to take a breathalyzer.