A 22-year-old sheriff's deputy from Virginia has been fired and charged with falsely summoning law enforcement and obstruction of justice after his own sheriff's office said he lied about being attacked when a passerby found him unconscious on the side of the road.
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said Friday night that one of its deputies had been attacked in Warrenton, about an hour west of Washington, D.C., and the office was looking for a darkly colored SUV, sharing photos of the scene on social media.
But the deputy's story apparently crumbled in the following hours.
Jake Preston Dooley was charged with making up the account on Saturday. Authorities said he was found "lying face down" by a passerby at an intersection, but did not elaborate on how he ended up there in the absence of the attack.
"Detectives thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegation and determined the incident reported by the deputy was false," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Immediate action has been taken and the deputy has been relieved of duty by Sheriff [Robert] Mosier."
Dooley had told authorities he got out of his car to remove a road marker while on his drive home from work just after 7 p.m. Friday when he heard someone yell from a passing SUV and he was "struck in the head by an object." He was taken to Fauquier Hospital, where he was treated and released for unspecified injuries.
"Sometimes bad things happen to good organizations," Mosier said in a statement. "We truly regret that this happened but find a tremendous amount of comfort in the knowledge that our community understands and supports law enforcement in Fauquier County."
Dooley was released on $10,000 bond, but authorities said he would be taken for a mental evaluation.
ABC News' Sarah Shales and Lauren Lantry contributed to this report.