Michigan lawmaker couldn’t stand on 1 leg after traffic stop
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker charged with drunken driving in February couldn’t balance on one leg after being pulled over in suburban Detroit, according to video and a report from police.
An officer noticed state Rep. Mary Cavanagh’s car driving past them with two flat tires and veering between lanes at around 2 a.m. Feb 25, the report from the Livonia Police Department said. The front driver’s side tire then disconnected from the rim and the officer pulled over the Redford Democrat.
Cavanagh first told police she was coming back from a Livonia Democratic Party meeting and then, after rifling through some papers trying to find her license, she said she was returning from Lansing.
In the video released by Livonia police, Cavanagh changed the number of glasses of wine she said she had that night between two and one a few times. She failed to follow directions during field sobriety tests walking heel-to-toe and was unable to stand on one foot after several attempts.
Cavanagh tested at 0.176% blood alcohol content in the back of the police car and then 0.2% at the Livonia jail, more than two times the legal limit of 0.08%.
It was her second time charged with operating while intoxicated by Livonia police. The first was in 2015, though she pleaded guilty to an impaired driving charge.
Cavanagh’s attorney, Todd Perkins, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Cavanagh recognizes her responsibility to her constituents and will eventually explain the details of what happened.
Cavanagh is scheduled for a pretrial conference April 21.
Her February arrest wasn’t publicly known until this week, when Gongwer News Service in Lansing reported about it, sparking concern from House leadership.
Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth said in a statement earlier this week that he was not aware of Cavanagh’s arrest and hoped that Democratic leaders “didn’t know and try to keep it under wraps.”
Minority Leader Donna Lasinski’s office sent a statement to The AP on Thursday saying “Rep. Cavanagh is facing a serious charge and handling the issue privately and on her own timeline. As we learned of the incident over the weekend, we offered our support and will continue to do so as the legal process proceeds.”
Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Nichols reported from Lansing.