COLUMBUS -- A woman who could become Ohio s next First Lady faces a drunken driving charge after sideswiping a parked pickup truck and testing at more than three times the legal blood alcohol limit Thursday night.
Frankie Coleman, wife of Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and failing to control her vehicle. She is expected to appear in Franklin County Municipal Court next week.
A breath test revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.271 percent, more than three times the legal limit of .08, according to police in the Columbus suburb of Bexley, less than a mile from the Colemans home.
Michael and I thank all of our friends, our family, and the residents of Ohio who have called with their prayers and support today, Mrs. Coleman said in a written statement. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I fully acknowledge and regret my mistake.
She and the mayor declined to comment further. Early today, the mayor s office asked that the Colemans privacy be respected.
Mrs. Coleman, 55, cooperated with police, and was allowed to leave the police station late Thursday night with her husband and their son, J.D., who recently returned from service in Iraq.
Unless somebody is combative or cannot find someone to come and get them, we will release them, said Bexley Det. Sgt. Tony Martin.
According to a police report, Mrs. Coleman s 2003 Cadillac was southbound on a residential street when she struck the left side of a legally parked 1996 Dodge Ram pickup truck owned by John Spiropoulos, who lives on the street. No one was injured in the accident, which occurred about 9 p.m.
Mr. Coleman, who grew up in Toledo, is serving his second term as mayor and is vying with U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland (D., Lucasville) for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006. The Strickland campaign declined to comment.
This is something that would be unfortunate for anyone to go through, said Ohio Republican Party spokesman John McClelland. I don t know what value there would be for us to jump on the mayor in this difficult situation.
This was Mrs. Coleman s first offense, making it a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by 3 to 180 days in jail, or a 72-hour alcohol intervention program.
If convicted, she would also face a fine of $50 to $1,000, a license suspension of six months to three years, and six points against her driving record.
Because of her high blood-alcohol level, she could also be forced to place a special yellow license plate on her vehicle if she is granted limited driving privileges after the first month of her license suspension.
The arrest marks the second time in six months that someone associated with the Coleman campaign has faced a drunken driving charge. In May, campaign advisor Greg Haas pleaded guilty to drunken driving. He remains with the campaign.
Whenever you have a high-profile case, the issue gets more press coverage and is brought to the forefront, said Doug Scoles, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Ohio. We are deeply concerned about the dramatic dangers at high (blood alcohol content) levels. At a 0.15 level, research has shown a driver is 382 times more likely to die in an alcohol-related accident than a non-drinker.
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