Rascal Flatts guitarist and vocalist Joe Don Rooney pleaded guilty this week to DUI in Williamson County, directly south of Nashville. The case and plea goes back to a September 2021 charge in the Middle Tennessee suburb.
The first-time DUI plea, a misdemeanor, comes with up to 11 months 29 days of jail. Rooney will serve two days in jail, with the judge suspending the rest. According to Nashville newspaper The Tennesseean, Rooney is slated to report to jail by 3PM on June 8 to serve his 48-hour sentence. He will lose his driver’s license as part of the deal. However, he can apply for a special restricted license if he installs a breathalyzer in his automobile.
Rooney caught the original charge after he drove into a tree in south Nashville around 4AM. An officer from the Williamson County Sheriff’s office responded to the scene. The wreck occurred near the 1200 block of Hillsboro Road near Fieldstone Park, just north of Franklin.
Officers booked Rooney about three hours later, and released him on $2,500 bond another three hours after booking. According to an affidavit, Rooney told police he played golf earlier in the day and then went over to a friend’s house for drinks afterwards. He told police that he “had one more” than he should have drank. Rooney claimed that the accident happened, though, because a deer ran out in front of his car, causing him to swerve into the tree. He would go on to fail multiple sobriety tests when police responded to the accident.
Will Joe Don Rooney rejoin Rascal Flatts now that his legal troubles are in the rearview?
Neither Rooney nor his wife, Tiffany Fallon, ever commented publicly regarding his arrest last fall. Rascal Flatts singer Gary LeVox told PEOPLE magazine in October that he had not spoken to Rooney since before his arrest on September 9th.
“I think God gets your attention in different ways,” LeVox observed. “I just wish him the best and I hope he gets everything that he needs to get well and take care of whatever issues he’s got going on. There’s power in prayer.”
“It was like, ‘Let me try to wrap my head around this.’ And then I certainly wasn’t OK with the pandemic, which canceled everything,” LeVox said. “I hate the way that it ended, and I hate that we didn’t get to do this farewell tour. I can’t stand the fact that it just feels there’s no closure with something that we’ve been so blessed with. That will always be in my heart.”
Allison DeMarcus, wife of third Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus, said she thinks the band will reunite at some point, though.
“I do believe the band will be back together once again because they’re all still friends and partners in business, and they’ve had such a strong run for so long,” she said.