In April of this year, Parchment athletic director John Thompson was arrested by a Richland police officer and arrested for drunk driving and fleeing/eluding police. Thompson was charged with three misdemeanors including operating a motor vehicle with high blood-alcohol content, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and having an open intoxicant in his vehicle. He was also arrested on a felony charge of fleeing and eluding police.
During the course of his trial, Thompson admitted to drunk driving and having an open intoxicant in his vehicle, but stated that he did not remember fleeing and eluding police. This was the most serious charge that Thompson faced. Thompson’s attorney, David Butler, told jurors that his client was in a “blackout” when police pursued him, and that Thompson did not recall running from police. He argued that his client was not guilty of the felony charge.
During Thompson’s own testimony, he stated that he did not know he left the Richland Pub where he and his boss, Parchment Public Schools Superintendent Matt Miller, had gone earlier in the evening to have a drink. Thompson said he had no recollection of getting into his car and driving, or fleeing from police.
Miller stated during his testimony that he and Thompson did not consume alcohol at Thompson’s home before leaving for the pub that evening. He also testified that Thompson did not exhibit signs of intoxication, which he would have considered slurred speech and/or stumbling. According to Miller, Thompson consumed three drinks which consisted of vodka and diet soda while in his presence. Later that evening, the two lost contact at the pub; Miller did not know that Thompson had left.
On Thursday, October 11, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the charge of fleeing and eluding a police officer after more than 12 hours of deliberation; however they did find him guilty of the other misdemeanor charges.
A status conference has been scheduled for November 16 on the unsettled charge; sentencing on the charges Thompson was found guilty of will take place on December 3rd.
Experienced Michigan DUI defense lawyers know that penalties for those convicted even on misdemeanor charges can be serious, impacting the reputation and career of the individual convicted.