A 38-year-old man arrested earlier this week for drunken driving entered an initial plea of not guilty in the court and will enter an inpatient rehabilitation center.
The man was pointed out by several women to a City of Grosse Pointe patrol officer after exiting Tuesday. They yelled to the officer that the man was intoxicated and was trying to drive away, according to a report.
As the officer was looking for the man to whom they were referring, he saw a vehicle backing out of parking space on Kercheval Place, pull into the bank parking lot and then exit onto Notre Dame. The driver, who turned out to be the man to whom the women were referring, made a wide turn out of the parking lot, nearly striking the patrol officer's car.
Then the man stopped his car in front of the patrol car, got out and told the officer he was drunk and was simply moving his car into the parking lot behind , according to a report.
During the patrol officer's investigation, the man could not successfully complete field sobriety tests. He was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol when the officer first approached. A preliminary breath test revealed he had a 0.22 percent blood alcohol content, according to a report.
The man appeared in court Thursday, where he was arraigned on a felony count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He entered a preliminary plea of not guilty and his attorney said he will be entering an inpatient rehabilitation center.
This is the man's fifth alcohol related office—his third drunk driving arrest, Detective Christopher Lee told Judge Carl Jarboe, who is filling in for the City's judge, Russell Ethridge.
The man has convictions for alcohol offenses including two for drunken driving from 1991 in Ann Arbor, 1998 from Grosse Pointe Woods, 2002 from Grosse Pointe Park, and 2005 from Mount Clemens. Additionaly, he has a conviction from 2000 for assault with intent to do bodily harm, which could be used to enhance his sentence in the current pending case.
The man's charge of operating while intoxicated would normally be a misdemeanor but because of his criminal history involving alcohol offenses, it's a felony. It is punishable by one to five years in prison, fines and/or probation.
His attorney argued for a bond that would be affordable so the man can receive the help he needs. His attorney also addressed the fact that the man has received help in the past and asked the judge to accept that relapse is sometimes a part of rehabilitation.
He continued to explain that the man recently lost his father and that coupled with a few other factors led him to start drinking again. He noted the man did have a number of months during which he was sober and he believes the man can get back to it with help.
His attorney also noted that the man is a lifelong resident of the Grosse Pointes and has always shown up for court. He is employed, is the sole financial provider for his family, which includes his wife and 15-month-old daughter.
Lee told the judge he was not opposed to allowing the man to enter the rehabilitation facility.
Jarboe agreed to set the bond at an affordable amount to allow the man to get out of jail so he may enter the rehabilitation center. He set several conditions to the bond, however.
The man must enter the inpatient facility and if he does not, he will be returned to jail pending the outcome of the case. Jarboe warned the man of his worries that is he is home while the case is being resolved that he will likely commit a similar crime given his history.
He also is requiring the man be set up on an alcohol teather through Wayne County Probation, which monitors the man's alcohol intake and if any is ingested, the tether will notify officials.
Jarboe said he is glad no one was injured. He inquired about the man's driver's license status as far as whether it was active when he was arrested earlier this week. His attorney said the man has a restricted driver's license that requires he use a portable breathalyzer that is attached to his car in order to start it. When he was arrested, however, he was driving a car that belonged to another family member that is not equipped with such equipment.
As a condition of bond, Jarboe told the man he is not allowed to drive at all. He set the bond at $10,000, which means he can pay 10 percent or $1,000, to post.
The man will return to court Feb. 9 for a preliminary exam, which was set beyond the normal 14 days so he may enter the rehabilitation center.