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State representative appears in court for operating while intoxicated charge

a police squad car
Flickr user Scott Davidson/Flickr

State Rep. Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford) appeared in court Wednesday for pre-trial proceedings related to an alleged drunk driving incident. She’s due back in Livonia’s 16th District Court on April 21st.

Cavanagh, who was arraigned last month, faces a charge of operating while intoxicated stemming from a February 25th traffic stop.

Her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

A police report, first covered by Gongwer News Service, said Livonia police pulled Cavanagh over after seeing her drive along Interstate-96 with two flat tires.

The report, obtained with a Freedom of Information Act Request, said she was swerving outside of her lane. Police pulled her over as she was exiting the freeway.

Bodycam footage of the snowy traffic stop shows a badly shredded front driver’s side tire. Ahead of a field sobriety test, Cavanagh told officers she had two glasses of wine but no prescription drugs or marijuana.

“I’m a state representative. I try not to do a lot of unsafe drinking,” Cavanagh told officers, after saying she only drinks once a week.

According to the report…Cavanagh submitted a sample of .176 BAC on a preliminary breathalyzer test. Michigan’s legal limit is .08.

The report said Cavanagh initially told officers she had been coming from the “Livonia Democratic Party” but couldn’t provide details before later saying she was coming from Lansing when asked again.

In the body cam footage, Cavanagh eventually clarified she had stopped in Westland before officers pulled her over.

Livonia Democratic Club President Kate Shishkovsky said she’s not sure what Cavanagh may have been referring to, as there were no events that night. Shishkovsky also said their meetings and events do not involve alcohol.

“She reached out to me earlier today and expressed her apologies and how she is now involved with addiction counseling and with recovery for this,” Shishkovsky said on Wednesday. “I don’t know anything about her past interaction with alcohol, but I certainly appreciate the fact that she has taken responsibility.”

Court records show Cavanagh had a separate drunk driving incident in 2015.

“Rep. Cavanagh is facing a serious charge. Our priority is providing her with the support she needs to meet these challenges and stay healthy as the legal process proceeds,” House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp) said in a statement.

A handful of other state lawmakers have also faced legal trouble this session.

Rep. Bryan Posthumus (R-Cannon Twp) was arrested for drunk driving after he was involved in a rollover crash last May.

Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) lost his committee assignments during a series of legal troubles beginning with a driving while intoxicated arrest in Livingston County.

Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek) plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault and battery charge stemming from groping allegations during a doctor’s visit.

Editor's note: This post has been updated after Colin Jackson obtained the police report and bodycam footage with a Freedom of Information Act request.

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