By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Jeff Booth, who had served as chief executive officer of the Escambia County Health Care Authority since May of 2021, was arrested twice in less than 12 hours over the past weekend. The arrests came less than two days after Booth had tendered his resignation.
ECHCA Chair Debbie Rowell said Monday, August 29, that she received an emailed resignation letter from Booth around 3 a.m. last Thursday (August 25). The former CEO gave no reason for his decision and gave no advance notice, she said.
“Basically, all I got was a letter of resignation,” Rowell said. “The letter was well-written, not some off-the-cuff thing. To my knowledge, there were no issues that could lead to something like that. I just don’t know anything more than that. I was a little surprised that he didn’t give a notice.
“It’s out of character for him. We wish him well but obviously something was going on with him. It’s just been bizarre.”
Booth was arrested last Friday night (August 26) by Brewton Police Department officers after he showed up at D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital, apparently under the influence of alcohol.
According to a press release issued by Brewton PD Patrol Sgt. Tyler Aaron, officers were dispatched around 9:40 p.m. Friday to the hospital in response to a report of “an unwanted person on the campus.”
The release further states that officers made contact with Jeffrey Quentin Booth shortly after their arrival. They “determined that Booth was intoxicated, and (he) was arrested for public intoxication.”
Hospital officials gave Booth an “official trespass warning” before police took him to the county jail.
According to the Escambia County Detention Center website, Booth was booked into the facility at 11:05 p.m. He was released on his own recognizance Saturday morning.
BPD reports show that he returned to the hospital around 11 a.m., despite the trespass warning, and was arrested again.
The jail website shows that Booth, who was an outside consultant to ECHCA for more than two years before being selected to replace Chris Griffin as CEO, was booked into the facility again at 11:51 a.m. Saturday, August 27, and was released at 8 p.m. that same day. He was charged with third-degree criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.
Booth’s online biography shows that he has more than 37 years of experience in the healthcare industry. His LinkedIn profile now lists him as “self-employed.”