Celebrity Drunk Driving News
By: Mary Ann Pekara
Political Celebrity DUI Spotlight
The public has a hard enough time as it is trusting politicians and taking them for their words. The credibility of politicians may take even more of a dive when these figures are arrested for DUI, like lawmakers in Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma and other states have been in 2007.
Follow the Political Celebrity DUI Spotlight for the latest political scandals involving DUI, and don't forget to check out our respective Celebrity DUI Spotlight sections on the sports, entertainment, music and miscellaneous figures who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Political Celebrity DUI Spotlight Updated October 30, 2007
Tennessee Senator Jerry Cooper Pleads No Contest to DUI
Tennessee Senator Jerry Cooper pleaded no contest to DUI charges after he crashed his car last February. Cooper was found guilty of DUI, but speeding violations were dismissed. Cooper rolled his vehicle last February and was found by state troopers hanging upside down from his seatbelt. Cooper was sentenced to 24 hours of community service and a $350 fine.
Al Gore III Charged in DUI Case
Entertainment Tonight has reported that Al Gore III, son of former Vice President Al Gore, has been formally charged with speeding, two counts of felony drug possession and three misdemeanors after he was stopped by Orange County, California police in early July. News reports have stated that police searched Gore's car and allegedly found marijuana plus the prescriptions drugs Xanax, Adderal, Soma, and 140 tablets of Vicodin.
Maryland Governor Confirms that Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster Charged with DUI
A spokesperson for Martin O'Malley, the Governor of Maryland, has confirmed reports that Maryland Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster was arrested and charged with DUI in Howard County. Foster, 60, was reportedly stopped by state police for "failing to drive in a single lane" and was charged with DUI and driving while impaired. Blood alcohol content results, if taken, were not disclosed. Foster is reportedly a key advisor to the Governor. "Secretary Foster immediately disclosed the incident," an O'Malley's spokesperson said. "She has been treated like any other state employee and has the Governor's full confidence as the legal process continues."
Al Gore Says Son is in Rehab after DUI Drug Arrest
Al Gore III, the 24-year-old son of former Vice President Al Gore, has reportedly checked into a drug rehabilitation facility after he was booked on four drug counts and speeding on a San Diego, California freeway. Gore III's father, the former VP, told a New York television show that his son had entered rehab after leaving jail and called the matter "private," asking that the media leave his son and the Gore family alone. Al Gore III was stopped for driving 100mph, according to a police report filed by the San Diego Sheriff's Department. An officer reportedly smelled marijuana, then found Vicodin, Xanax, Adderall, and Soma after searching Gore's vehicle. Gore was released on $20,000 bond.
Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Not Guilty of DUI
Marion Barry, former Mayor of the District of Columbia, has been acquitted of DUI by a DC Superior Court judge, who said Barry's apparent difficulty with walking and speaking was caused by age and not alcohol. Barry, 71, testified in court that he takes several medications and has trouble walking because he has high blood pressure, diabetes, and edema, which is swelling of the legs. A blood alcohol content test showed that Barry's blood alcohol level when arrested was only .02, which is below the legal limit of .08 in District of Columbia. Barry had served six months in prison on drug charges in 1990.
Tamara Mitchell Ford's Probation Not Revoked
A Criminal Court judge has ruled that Tamara Mitchell Ford, ex-wife of Tennessee State Senator John Ford, will not have probation revoked because of a February DUI, because Ford has complied with the judge's orders to get counseling, take alcohol treatment classes, and wear an ankle bracelet, among other conditions. Mitchell Ford was arrested in February for DUI and pleaded Guilty last month. Ford's DUI reportedly violated her probation from a 2001 assault case against her ex-husband's girlfriend.
Georgia State Representative Ben Harbin Charged with DUI
Ben Harbin, a Republican State Representative in Georgia, has been charged with DUI after his vehicle hit a utility pole in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Harbin, 43, was arrested and charged with a DUI after failing a field sobriety test, according to Atlanta-area newspapers. His blood alcohol content was not reported. In the past, Harbin has voted in favor of DUI crackdowns, especially for repeat offenders.
Arizona State Rep Trish Groe Takes DUI Plea Deal
Arizona State Representative Trish Groe has agreed to a plea deal in which she will be charged with misdemeanor DUI and will avoid having to resign from office. Groe was arrested for felony drunken driving and driving on a suspended license in late March outside of Phoenix, Arizona. She has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge, spend one day in jail, and pay more than $1,500 in fines. The charge of driving on a suspended license will be dropped, as will the felony DUI charge. Groe was charged with a DUI in 1999. A felony DUI charge would have forced her to resign from her office. Groe's license was suspended for not paying a parking ticket, not for her prior DUI charge.
Tulsa Mayor's Daughter Elizabeth Frame Takes DUI Plea Deal
Elizabeth Frame, the daughter of Tulsa, Oklahoma Mayor Kathy Taylor pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI and failure to stop at a stop sign. Frame was arrested for DUI in March. As part of her plea deal, Frame will participate in a program that educates young drivers about the importance of not drinking and driving. The program includes visits to Rehab centers, an Emergency Room, writing an essay, attending victim panels, and touring funeral homes. If Frame fulfills court requirements by August 21, she will receive a one-year suspended jail sentence.
Carson City Nevada Mayor Marv Teixeira Faces Recall Petition After He Pleads Guilty to DUI
The Mayor of Carson City, Nevada is facing a recall petition from his constituents after he was charged and pleaded guilty to a DUI. Mayor Marv Teixeira, 72, pleaded Guilty after being stopped for speeding and failing a sobriety test in early March. This was his first offense. Carson City resident Rheba Montrose has filed a petition against the Mayor, to recall votes cast three years ago. She would have to collect 5,529 signatures in 90 days to oust the Mayor from office. Although the Mayor claimed the DUI incident was "the biggest embarrassment" of his life, Montrose believes further action should be taken. She told the Nevada Appeal newspaper, "He didn't apologize to us.I think he should resign because he committed a crime and was convicted."
Mayor of Carson City, Nevada Pleads Guilty to DUI
The Mayor of Carson City, Nevada, Marv Teixeira, has pleaded Guilty to DUI and called the incident "the biggest embarrassment" of his life. Texeira, 72, was sentenced to 48 hours of community service after being arrested in early March by a Nevada State Trooper for speeding. He failed a sobriety test and was subsequently charged. This was his first offense.
Former Tennessee State Senator Kathryn Bowers Indicted for Reckless Driving; DUI Charges Dropped
Tennessee's former State senator Kathryn Bowers was indicted by a state Grand Jury reckless driving stemming from a car accident last August. Bowers had originally been charged with a DUI, but those charges were dismissed when toxicology results failed to show a significant amount of drugs or alcohol in Bowers' system. In August of 2006, Bowers hit a UPS truck. Reckless driving is a Class B misdemeanor in the state of Tennessee. An arraignment date has not yet been set.
Boise Mayor's Chief of Staff Arrested for DUI
Jade Riley, 31, the Chief of Staff for Dave Bieter, the Mayor of Boise, ID, was arrested for DUI. Riley is also the former director of the Idaho Democratic Party. He was released shortly after his arrest and was placed on two weeks of unpaid leave.
Mike Kinnear, Mayor of Gore, Oklahoma Arrested for DUI
Mike Kinnear, Mayor of the town of Gore, OK has been arrested for DUI. Gore, 55, was arrested after his breathalyzer test was reportedly .09, which is above the legal limit of .08 in Oklahoma. The Sequoyah County Sheriff, Johnny Philpot, claimed that his office had received numerous reports of Kinnear's past drunk driving and that he'd personally told his deputies to stop the Mayor if they caught him drinking and driving. "Just because you carry a title doesn't mean you can't kill someone drinking and driving," said Philpot. This was Kinnear's first DUI.
Oklahoma Legislator John Trebilcock Arrested for DUI
Oklahoma State Representative John Trebilcock of Broken Arrow, OK, who authored a 2005 DUI law in Oklahoma, was arrested for DUI. The lawmaker, 33, was stopped for reportedly driving without headlights. Trebilcock reportedly failed a field sobriety test but refused to take a breathalyzer test, reportedly saying he did not trust the validity of the instrument. He was released on $570 bond. Trebilcock penned the 2005 DUI law that requires people convicted of two DUIs to install ignition interlocking alcohol-detection devices in their automobiles before they can get their driver's licenses back. This is Trebilcock's first charge.
Robert Vellanoweth, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Appointee, Arrested in Fatal DUI Accident
Republican activist Robert Vellanoweth, appointed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has been arrested for felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter after allegedly causing a head-on crash that killed three adults and a toddler. Vellanoweth, 63, of Sacramento, CA, crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a vehicle carrying five people, four of whom were killed instantly. Vellanoweth's blood alcohol level has not been released. Governor Schwarzenegger's office has said that Vellanoweth will be immediately removed from his political post at the state Board of Optometry. Vellanoweth also served as an activist with the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and was Vice Chair of that group for Schwarzenegger in Northern California. According to the Governor's office, he also had served on the Youthful Offender Parole Board and in the California departments of Economic Opportunity and in Parks and Recreation.
Arizona State Rep Trish Groe Enters Treatment After DUI
Arizona State Representative Trish Groe, 37, said she will be entering a 30-day treatment program for alcohol addiction after her recent arrest for drunken driving. Groe's blood alcohol content was reportedly .158, which is almost twice the legal limit in Arizona. The DUI arrest is her second. In 1999, she was charged with a DUI and was treated as an outpatient in a six month treatment program for alcoholism.
Tamara Mitchell Ford's DUI Judge Steps Aside
A judge in Memphis, TN has agreed to step aside at a DUI bond hearing for Tamara Mitchell-Ford, the former wife of Tennessee state senator John Ford. Mitchell-Ford has been in jail for more than a month, after being arrested twice within 24 hours on DUI and probation violation charges. Mitchell-Ford's attorney charged that the judgment could be "tainted" after the judge consulted with Mitchell-Ford's physician. A new judge ruled that Mitchell-Ford may be released from jail on bond if she wears an ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol consumption. Mitchell-Ford was arrested in early February by Collierville, TN police, then arrested the next day for violating probation on a 2001 alcohol-related accident.
Arizona State Rep Trish Groe Arrested for DUI
The Associated Press has reported that Arizona State Representative Trish Groe, 37, was arrested in Parker, AZ for driving on a canceled driver's licensed and suspicion of aggravated DUI. According to police reports, Groe's blood alcohol content was .158, which is nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in Arizona. If Groe is charged and convicted of a felony DUI charge, she will be removed from office, according to Arizona law. Groe issued a statement after the arrest, saying she was "deeply ashamed" of the arrest and thankful that no one else was hurt. Groe, a recovering alcoholic who admitted to a relapse, is reportedly disputing the charge that her license was canceled, claiming it was a misunderstanding with Arizona's Motor Vehicle department.
Tennessee State Senator Jerry Cooper's DUI Hearing Set for May 11
Tennessee State Senator Jerry Cooper surrendered himself on a warrant for drunk driving after a rollover car crash in early February. The Tennessee Highway Patrol charged him with DUI after blood alcohol tests reportedly showed levels of .18%, which is above the Tennessee limit of .08%. Cooper had reportedly attended three political receptions in Nashville, all of which served alcohol. He was helicoptered to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which treated him for significant injuries. Cooper is due to appear in court May 11 in Rutherford County and will appear before a federal judge in Chattanooga for land fraud on June 4.
Suburban Cleveland Mayor Joseph Kernan Resigns after OVI Charge
The Mayor of Norton, Ohio has resigned from office after being arrested for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated (OVI), which is the Ohio equivalent of a DUI. Mayor Joseph Kernan was found unconscious in his parked, but running, vehicle with keys in the ignition in the early morning hours after attending St. Patrick's Day festivities, according to Bay Village, Ohio Police. Court records show that Kernan's blood alcohol level was .17, which is nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in Ohio. Kernan was already facing controversy about his residency after he moved outside the town of Norton, to nearby Barberton, Ohio. Kernan reportedly said he will plead Not Guilty to the charges.
Son of Mark Taylor, Former Georgia Lt. Governor, Pleads Guilty to Fatal DUI
Fulton Fletcher Taylor Gets One Year in Jail A South Carolina judge has ruled that Fulton Fletcher Taylor, 23, son of former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor, will serve one year in jail plus five years probation and a $15k fine after Taylor pleaded guilty to felony drunken driving for a 2005 incident that killed his friend. Taylor's vehicle was traveling at a high speed when it hit a concrete barrier on an Interstate highway in August 2005. The vehicle flipped over, killing Joseph Victor Gennert, 22, of Charleston, SC. The two men reportedly spent nearly $200 on alcohol before the crash. Taylor's blood alcohol was .25, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08. Members of both Taylor's and Gennert's families urged the judge to be lenient, however South Carolina law requires a minimum jail sentence when a DUI death occurs. Taylor was sentenced to three years in jail but the sentence will be suspended upon completion of one year of jail time, according to the Associated Press.
Tulsa Mayor Confirms: Daughter Elizabeth Frame Charged with DUI
Kathy Taylor, the Mayor of Tulsa, OK has confirmed that her daughter, Elizabeth Frame, 24, was arrested for a misdemeanor DUI. The Associated Press reported that Taylor said the arrest was "a family matter" and will be handled privately. However, most DUI arrests are public information. Frame was stopped for reportedly running a stop sign, and was given sobriety tests. According to a police report, Frame refused a breath test and asked to call her mother for advice. She was released on $1,000 bond.
U.S. Attorney Spokesman Steve Cole Charged with DUI
The Tampa Tribune has reported that Steve Cole, 53, the spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Tampa, FL, was charged with a misdemeanor DUI after he crashed into another car that was stopped at a traffic light. Police reports show that his blood alcohol content was .11, which is above the Florida legal limit of .08. Cole reportedly said, "I plan to deal with this responsibly through the court system." He was released on $500 bond shortly after his arrest.
House Speaker Frank Chopp Apologizes For Calling Race Car Driver Richard Petty a Drunk Driver
A politician who erroneously called seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty a drunk driver has apologized publicly. House Speaker Frank Chopp has apologized to Petty for referring to him as "that guy who got picked up for a DUI." Petty has never been convicted of a DUI, and his company, Petty enterprises, has never been affiliated with alcohol-related sponsors because of its opposition to alcohol.
Georgia Councilwoman Debbie Gibson Overdoses after DUI Charge
An Alpharetta, GA city councilwoman was rushed to the hospital after being found unconscious in her home just one day after being charged with DUI. Debbie Gibson, who serves on the Alpharetta, GA city council, was taken to North Fulton Hospital after she reportedly overdosed on prescription medication. According to police, her daughter called 911 to report the incident. Gibson was cited with DUI after a car crash in which nobody was hurt. Alpharetta Mayor Arthur Letchas was reported to have given Gibson a ride home after she was released from jail. Gibson is up for re-election this year.
Former Tennessee State Senator Kathryn Bowers DUI Charge Dropped to Reckless Driving
The Shelby County Attorney General's office in Tennessee reduced the DUI charge against former state senator Kathryn Bowers to a reckless driving charge. Bowers resigned from her seat in the state legislature in August of last year, citing health reasons, and shortly thereafter was charged with DUI, reckless driving, and failure to control a vehicle after she reportedly sideswiped a truck. Bowers blamed the cause of the accident on a change in her blood pressure medicine and pleaded Not Guilty to the charges in September. Bowers is also currently under indictment for bribery charges and will go to trial in April with several others who are accused of reportedly accepting money from undercover agents.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's Daughter Arrested for DUI and Child Endangerment
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's daughter, Ann Banaszewski, 45, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment, according to suburban Chicago police. Banaszewski was reportedly driving away from a fast-food restaurant in Wheaton, IL with three children in her van, when police stopped her after someone called police to report an intoxicated driver. Police did not release Banaszewski's blood alcohol level, nor did they comment on whether she had a prior DUI record. Scalia has nine children.
Nebraska State Senator Danielle Nantkes Arrested; May Face DUI Charges
Newly elected Nebraska State Senator Danielle Nantkes, 29, was arrested after she crashed into a snowplow, and may face charges of driving while intoxicated. Nantkes has two prior DUIs, according to a Channel 6 News report in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nantkes issued a statement that admitted "alcohol was a factor" in the crash and apologized for the incident. The vehicle she was driving reportedly sustained more than $1,000 in damage, however the city snowplow that she crashed into was not damaged. Lincoln Police Captain Genelle Moore said Nantkes may be charged with a DWI when she appears in court.
Tamara Mitchell Ford Arrested Twice in 24 Hours
Wife of Former Tennessee State Senator Gets DUI, Violates Probation Tamara Mitchell Ford, wife of former Tennessee State Senator John Ford, has been arrested twice within a 24-hour period. According to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, Ford was arrested for DUI, reckless driving, and violation of Tennessee's open container law after police received an anonymous tip that her car had been swerving and driving too slowly. The police report said an officer spotted a half-empty bottle of vodka in a glove compartment and noticed a strong alcohol odor on Ford's breath. Police arrested her the next day for violation of probation stemming from prior arrests. In 2001, she was reportedly accused of driving her vehicle through her ex-husband's girlfriend's house and assaulting the woman. In 2002, she reportedly received a one year suspended jail sentence for a drunk driving accident in Alabama, and in 2004, she was reportedly arrested for failing to turn herself in for a hit and run accident, allegedly involving alcohol.
Daughter of California Lieutenant Governor Avoids DUI
Ashley Garamendi, 20, the daughter of California's Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, has avoided a DUI charge because a toxicology report showed she was not driving above the California legal limit of .08 when she rolled her SUV in December while on her way home from a party. According to a Garamendi spokesperson, the Yolo County District Attorney will charge Garamendi with driving under the influence of alcohol as a minor. The legal drinking age in California is 21.
Assistant District Attorney on Paid Leave after DUI Arrest
A Northumberland County, PA assistant district attorney was arrested for DUI January 5 by Point Township Police and has reportedly checked into an in-patient rehabilitation program. According to the county's district attorney, Tony Rosini, John P. Muncer, 47, was charged with DUI after a minor collision. Rosini said the case will be handled by the Attorney General's Office. Muncer is taking a voluntary, paid leave of absence while reportedly participating in a 30-day alcohol rehabilitation program.
Florida Prosecutor Gets DUI after He Hits Two People with His Car
A Miami-Dade state attorney's office prosecutor has been charged with a DUI on released on $20,000 bond after he hit two people on New Year's Eve who were riding a motor scooter. George Cholakis refused to take a roadside sobriety test but was booked into the county jail on two counts of DUI with serious injury. The state's attorney's office has reportedly asked the Governor, Charlie Crist, to appoint another office to investigate the charges.