State lawmaker charged with drunken driving, resisting cops
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A state lawmaker was charged with drunken driving, resisting police officers and other crimes stemming from an April 6 crash along Interstate 96 in Livingston County, prosecutors said Friday.
Rep. Jewell Jones, a 26-year-old Inkster Democrat in his third term, became so combative with paramedics and later state troopers after driving into a ditch near Fowlerville that police had to “tase and pepper spray” him, chief assistant prosecutor Carolyn Henry said at Jones’ arraignment hearing.
Charges include resisting and obstructing officers — a felony — and driving with a high blood-alcohol content of at least 0.17 %, more than double the 0.08% limit. Jones also was charged with reckless driving and possessing a weapon while under the influence of alcohol.
If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison on the resisting charge.
Jones was ordered to undergo random alcohol and drug testing and to surrender weapons except as part of his National Guard duties.
“He’s presumed innocent,” said his lawyer, Ali Hammoud.
Henry told a magistrate that Jones drove so recklessly between Southfield and Fowerville that multiple people called 911. His unidentified passenger had to be tended to by emergency responders after the vehicle went into a ditch.
Jones was “extremely uncooperative, confrontational” with paramedics, Henry said, and police were dispatched.
“It was further reported the defendant continued to be confrontational, uncooperative and insistent on referring again to his status of importance by flashing badges rather than producing the identification that law enforcement officers were requesting,” she said.
While a legislator can be expelled if he or she is convicted of a felony “involving a breach of public trust,” expulsion is very rare. Some lawmakers have resigned as part of plea deals or have lost their committee posts after being charged.
“These are serious charges. It’s important to let the investigation proceed and the legal process play out so all the facts can come to light,” House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski, a Democrat from Washtenaw County’s Scio Township, said in a statement.
Gideon D’Assandro, spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth of Farwell, said Wentworth was working with Lasinski on how to handle the situation going forward.
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This story has been corrected to show the prosecutor’s name is Carolyn Henry, not Carolyn Ryan.