Private Use of County Road Equipment and Materials Prohibited

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The chief administrative officer shall not authorize or knowingly permit the trucks or road equipment, the rock, crushed stone or any other road materials to be used for any private use or for the use of any individual for private purposes.  Any employee of the county road department who uses any truck or any other road equipment or any rock, crushed stone or other road material for that employee's personal use, or sells or gives those things away, shall be immediately discharged.  No truck or other road equipment or any rock, crushed stone or any road material shall be used to work private roads or for private purposes of owners of the roads.  T.C.A. § 54-7-202(a) - (c).  A violation of this statute is a Class C misdemeanor.  Each separate use of the same for other than authorized purposes constitutes a separate offense and is subject to a separate punishment.  T.C.A. § 54-7-202(e).  See State ex rel. Leech v. Wright, 622 S.W.2d 807, 817 (Tenn. 1981) (“The statute prohibits private use unequivocally, without mention of compensation and it follows that such use violates the statute, with or without compensation.”); State v. Keck, 1997 WL 254228, *21 (Tenn.Crim.App. 1997) (“We note that regardless of the Defendant's good intentions, the statute clearly states that county equipment and materials shall not be authorized for private use.  Whether the Defendant received any personal compensation or benefit is irrelevant.”).  See also Op. Tenn. Atty. Gen. 03-088 (July 15, 2003) (under the County Uniform Highway Act, the chief administrative officer of the county is specifically prohibited from authorizing or knowingly permitting the use of trucks, road equipment, rock, crushed stone or any other road material for private uses).