Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

December 4, 2013

Estes sentenced to 18 months probation

TRAVERSE CITY — Michael Estes’ drunken driving case ended with a judge handing down a sentence crafted to help Traverse City’s mayor “better” his life through 18 months of probation and alcohol treatment programs.

Eighty-sixth District Court Judge Michael Stepka on Tuesday praised Estes for accepting responsibility and being candid in a substance abuse assessment, but a sentence “above and beyond” was warranted based on all the facts.

“This is not really a first-offense situation,” Stepka said.

Estes, 63, was driving home from a candidate forum on Oct. 23 when a Traverse City police officer spotted his pickup truck weave through bike and turn lanes on Eighth Street. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested on an operating while intoxicated charge, with a tested blood-alcohol content of .12, above the state’s .08 legal limit for driving.

Traverse City voters re-elected Estes as mayor on Nov. 5 — one day after pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while impaired. He maintained his self-enforced public silence on specifics in the case through the 12-minute sentencing hearing on Tuesday.

“I’ve addressed the public and this court as far as the issues involved, and I really have nothing else to add, your honor,” he told Stepka.

Estes didn’t say one word outside the courtroom when asked for comment by a Record-Eagle reporter.

Stepka cited three “aggravating factors” as concerns that factored into the sentence: Estes’ consumption of alcohol before and after the candidate forum, his poor driving and, especially, the fact his vehicle strayed into an Eighth Street bike lane.

“This is still a sensitive and raw issue for the public since July 5,” Stepka said, alluding to the hit-and-run death of Traverse City bicyclist Kelly Ann Boyce. “Fortunately, there were not any cyclists in the bike lane at that time.”

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio