Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

November 5, 2013

Mom, rum, school don't mix

TRAVERSE CITY — A parent accused of picking up her children from Willow Hill Elementary School while heavily intoxicated faces a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.

School officials suspected Amy Douglass, 36, of Traverse City, had been drinking alcohol before she picked up her children on a Friday afternoon last month. Traverse City Area Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Cousins said officials asked Douglass for her keys, called police, and contacted the children’s father.

“We obviously could have had a tragic event with our students, but the steps they took kept kids safe,” Cousins said.

Douglass smelled “strongly” of intoxicants, had bloodshot watery eyes and “very slurred speech” when police arrived at the school, court records state. She was “crying hysterically” and admitted to drinking rum.

Douglass told police that she does not “practice drinking and driving,” but Douglass acknowledged she drove to the school.

Douglass’ blood alcohol content measured .277 — more than three times Michigan’s legal limit of .08 — during a preliminary breath test, according to court records.

Police arrested Douglass and booked her in to Grand Traverse County’s jail. Her children, ages 7 and 9, were left in the care of their father, court documents state.

Douglass was released the next day after posting a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. She pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of operating while intoxicated with a high blood-alcohol content during an arraignment on Oct. 29, court records show.

She is scheduled to appear in 86th District Court again on Nov. 14 for a pretrial conference.

Jesse Williams, Douglass’ attorney, said he wants to talk to Grand Traverse County prosecutors before he decides the next step in his client’s defense.

“The whole point of the pretrial is to see where the state stands, what the bottom line is,” Williams said.

Douglass has no apparent criminal history nor prior convictions on her driving record, court records state.

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