Rockdale Co. Public Schools Superintendent retiring after DUI arrest

Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry announced Thursday his plan to retire, just days after his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence.

McDonough Police arrested Autry shortly before 7:30 p.m. Sunday after he allegedly crashed his car into another vehicle on Highway 155 in McDonough. According to the police report, a witness saw Autry traveling at a high rate of speed before hitting the other vehicle. 

Responding officers administered field-sobriety tests on Autry, which he failed according to the report. It states he blew a .195 for blood-alcohol content. 

Autry told officers he had been drinking beers while watching the Falcons game at a Buffalo Wild Wings before wrecking his car. According to the police report, he couldn't specify which Wild Wings location he was at.

The investigating officer wrote that Autry had a hard time standing, slurred his words, and used barricades to hold himself up.

Police charged the 53-year-old with DUI less safe and following too closely.

On Thursday, Autry announced his plan to retire as superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS), effective October 30. 

"Although this was not an easy decision, I must put my family and personal circumstances first at this time," Autry said in an RCPS news release. 

Autry has worked for RCPS for 18 years and has served as superintendent for the past six years. 

"It has been my distinct pleasure to serve this community as a teacher, coach, principal, Chief Academic Officer and for the past six years, your superintendent,” Autry stated in his announcement. "I have full confidence that Rockdale County Public Schools will continue to strive for world-class and provide all students with a quality public education."

Autry led the district to become one of the highest rated AdvanceEd internationally accredited systems in the state. RCPS said its system has been performing above the state average while under Autry's leadership.  

"During his 30 years [18 in Rockdale County] of service as a teacher, principal, central office administrator and superintend, Mr. Autry has made an immeasurable difference in many lives. He will be greatly missed," the school system said in the news release. 

When asked if the district had any comment about the arrest, RCPS spokesperson Cindy Ball wrote to FOX 5, “The school system does not comment on pending legal matters as they pertain to individual personnel.”