Friday, October 01, 2004

Drinking Deputy District Attorney in Colorado Gets preferential treatment? You Decide!
I'll just let you all decide for yourself if this was "preferential" treatment or not. I'll just say this, if this is how the law is treated in Colorado, I can see why there were so many blunders in the Kobe

DELTA - A deputy district attorney involved in a car crash earlier this month in Delta avoided being arrested for drunk driving despite allegedly admitting to police he had been drinking and having beer in his vehicle.

Delta Police Officer Travis Anderson said in a report he was unable to arrest prosecutor John Louis Mehlig due to the "nonexistence of other indicators" and his refusal to take a voluntary roadside sobriety test

Mehlig, 51, of Montrose, was operating a 2001 Chevy Lumina registered to the 7th Judicial District Attorney Office when the accident occurred around 7:20 p.m. Sept. 8 at the intersection of Meeker and Second streets in Delta, the report says.

The Lumina collided with a 1974 Chrysler operated by Linda Ward, 60, of Delta. Neither Ward nor Mehlig were seriously injured. Ward was cited for failing to stop or yield at an intersection.
Anderson said in his report after checking on Ward he went to Mehlig's vehicle where he observed a pack of beer in the passenger side floorboard and a bottle of mouthwash in the back seat. Anderson reported he could smell alcohol on Mehlig's breath but did not feel that he was intoxicated. Delta Police Sgt. Jesse Cox also responded to the accident and noticed Mehlig had beer all over his clothing, the report says. In addition, a witness reported observing Mehlig drinking or gargling mouthwash by his vehicle.

Anderson reported he informed Mehlig that it did not "look good for him to be driving a company car and drinking at the same time," adding that Mehlig agreed it was inappropriate.
Mehlig said Wednesday that he regrets his actions. "I made a mistake," he said. "I'm sorry."

Mehlig has been reprimanded internally for consuming alcohol in an office vehicle, said District Attorney Tom Raynes, who declined to elaborate. "It's absolutely a violation of office policy," said Raynes, adding sanctions against Mehlig could have been far more serious if he had been arrested. There is no indication that Mehlig received preferential treatment from Delta police, and the accident should not affect his ability to prosecute cases, Raynes said. Mehlig also stated he had gone to Peterson Liquor in Delta and had picked up a pack of beer and had just opened one can and had started to drink it when the accident occurred, the report says.

Colorado does not have an open alcohol container law. Delta does have an open container law; however, Delta Police Department Chief Kelly Shea said he doesn't know why Mehlig wasn't cited.