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Retired GH cop faces 'super drunk' driving charge

Becky Vargo • May 4, 2018 at 10:00 AM

A retired Grand Haven Department of Public Safety officer faces up to 180 days in jail if convicted of operating while “super drunk,” a charge to which he pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last month in Ottawa County District Court. 

Scott Shelton, 54, has also been charged with carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of alcohol.

Both are misdemeanor offenses.

Shelton retired from the Grand Haven department in 2013. He was hired as a firefighter in 1986, according to the current city public safety director, Jeff Hawke.

The Fruitport resident was arrested April 1, after Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of a driver in a pickup truck all over the road while crossing the Grand Haven drawbridge at around 3 p.m.

The caller observed the driver swerving back and forth, cross the fog line and almost hit the guardrail, according to the police report obtained by the Tribune through the Freedom of Information Act. The caller watched the truck exit the highway and make a wide, sweeping turn before pulling in behind the Pizza Hut in Ferrysburg.

Deputies arriving at the scene found Shelton inside his vehicle, possibly sleeping, according to the report. He was observed leaning over the passenger seat with a half-full bottle of Two Hearted beer in his left hand, the report said.

When police asked for his identification, Shelton immediately told them he had a loaded gun in his pocket. Deputies confiscated the pistol from the man, who was described as having a strong odor of intoxicants, slurred speech, and bloodshot and watery eyes.

Shelton admitted to police that he had 5-6 beers that day, and that he was on his way home from a friend’s house, according to the report.

Deputies conducted a Breathalyzer test and reported the result as 0.17, the legal level for a high blood alcohol content, known as “super drunk.”

Deputies conducted other tests for a possible drunk driver and then arrested Shelton and transported him to the Ottawa County Jail. A blood test at the jail revealed the man’s alcohol level to be 0.2.

According to the police report, Shelton pulled off the highway and stopped because “he decided he should pull over and go for a walk.”

Shelton entered a not-guilty plea when he was arraigned on April 12. A final pre-trial conference is scheduled for May 15. A trial date has yet to be set.

Below is information on the two charges as noted on the Michigan State Police website:

Drunken driving

If a driver’s blood alcohol level is 0.17 or higher and this is a first offense:

  • Up to $700 fine
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 hours of community service
  • Up to one year license suspension
  • Six points on a driver's license
  • Mandatory completion of an alcohol treatment program
  • Ignition interlock use and compliance after 45 days license suspension is required to receive a restricted driver's license. Convicted drunk drivers have limited driving privileges, are prohibited from operating a vehicle without an approved and properly installed ignition interlock device, and are responsible for all installation and upkeep costs for the device.

Anyone who refuses a breath test the first time is given an automatic one-year driver's license suspension. For a second refusal within seven years, the suspension is two years.

Convicted drunk drivers are subject to a $1,000 penalty for two consecutive years under the Driver Responsibility Act, for a total of $2,000 in additional costs.

Carrying under the influence

• An individual shall not carry a concealed pistol or portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption (EMD) technology while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance, or while having a bodily alcohol content of 0.02 or above.

• Acceptance of a Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) constitutes implied consent to submit to a chemical test to detect use of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance.

• A police officer who has probable cause to believe an individual is carrying a concealed pistol or EMD device while under the influence of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance, or while having an unlawful bodily alcohol content, may require the individual to submit to a chemical analysis of his or her breath, blood or urine.

• An individual carrying a concealed pistol or EMD device with a prohibited BAC is subject to immediate seizure of his or her pistol and the following penalties: BAC of 0.02 to 0.07: state civil infraction, $100 fine, one-year CPL suspension; BAC of 0.08 to 0.09: 93-day misdemeanor, $100 fine, three-year CPL suspension; BAC of 0.1 or more, or under the influence of alcoholic liquor or a controlled substance: 93-day misdemeanor, $100 fine, CPL revocation. 

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