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Athens-Clarke commissioner arrested for second DUI in two months


Ovita Thornton

By Joe Johnson

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Ovita Thornton this week was arrested for DUI, making it the second time in two months that she has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

A lawyer who is representing the District 9 commissioner said that neither incident that resulted in Thornton being arrested was alcohol related.

“The two incidents were not due to drugs or alcohol impairment but were caused by a medical condition about which I am not authorized to discuss,” Athens attorney Douglas Lenhardt said.

The most recent incident was reported at 2:33 p.m. Thursday by a witness who told a 911 dispatcher about an accident with possible injuries to the driver, who had passed out, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.

A responding officer found that the incident happened at the East Dougherty Street entrance to the Synovus bank parking lot, where Thornton explained that she “could not see the yellow triangle curb” at the parking lot entrance, and so her car struck it.

The officer wrote in the report that Thornton denied having consumed any alcohol, and that she neither smelled alcohol nor saw indications that the commissioner had been drinking.

The officer further wrote that he left the scene after Thornton advised that a family member would be picking her up, but then he “decided” to return and conduct a DUI investigation after her sergeant called her.

Lenhardt said he inferred from the report that the sergeant instructed the officer to return for an investigation because Thornton already had a DUI case pending in court.

Upon returning to the scene the officer activated her patrol car’s blue lights because Thorton was preparing to drive away, according to the report, which notes that the first thing the officer asked the commissioner was “if she had any prior DUI in the past.”

The report further indicates that after exiting her car Thornton “was a little unable to keep her balance.”

After again denying that she had consumed alcohol, Thornton consented to roadside sobriety tests, which the officer said the commissioner failed due to jerkiness in eye movement and an inability to completely maintain balance.

Lenhardt said his 71-year-old client failed the tests because of her age.

Thorton took a break from the tests, saying that she could not go on and telling the officer that she wanted to be breath or blood tested for alcohol.

After arresting Thornton for DUI and failure to yield when turning left, the officer drove her to the hospital blood to be drawn for testing and then to the county jail.

Lenhardt said his client spent te night in confinement because of a rule that someone arrested for a second DUI must appear before a judge at a bond hearing.

In Magistrate Court on Friday Thornton was granted a $2,500 bond and she was released from jail at 10:36 a.m.

The attorney predicted that Thornton will be “completely exonerated when results from the blood testing are known.

The commissioner’s first alleged DUI incident occurred the evening of Feb. 20 when she was driving home from a restaurant where she admittedly had something to drink. A police report indicated that Thorton’s car struck a curb and utility pole near West Hancock Avenue and North Harris Street.

The responding officer noted in the police incident report that Thornton had an odor of alcohol about her, and her speech was slurred. The commissioner reportedly ignored or refused to comply with instructions, resisting attempts to handcuff her and kicking an officer in the chest when being placed into a police car.

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15件のコメント


listen folks, it's obvious that this is the side effects of trans hormones and we all need to just stay in our lanes and let justice prevail. Our esteemed leaders deserve some privacy. We really need special tags that keep the police from burdening these protectors of freedom!

いいね!

Tasha Gibbs
Tasha Gibbs
2023年4月17日

Wait a minute! She kicked an officer in the chest????? So was she also charged with assault on a police officer? Because anyone else would have been! And now she’s been released so was her driver license taken from her? Doubt it! So will she most likely do it again? Of course she will. Is she still our commissioner or has anyone said she clearly isnt capable?! I mean she’s assaulting our officers whose doing their job to keep us safe from one’s driving drunk. So how will she keep this community safe? I feel zero sympathy for her. Oh and her bond money; whose money is it? Taxpayers? Shm we live in a time of a corrupt justice system…

いいね!

Last time I made negative comments about her first DUI. Now I am saying this woman needs help. Yes, she has a medical condition called Alcoholism. She is a danger to other people on the roadway & needs her license suspended immediately. She needs to go to drug court like the rest of the public that gets 2 DUIs back to back. She needs help. Her lawyer needs to stop defending her actions & get her treatment immediately.

いいね!
Tasha Gibbs
Tasha Gibbs
2023年4月17日
返信先

Assuming shes honest and admits and is willing to get help. It amazes me how the community makes these situations as well as the homeless on drugs that think we the people should get them help. Well we do pay. Taxpayers pay for it all. And we live in a county with resources & even free drug and alcohol help. As well as free help for mental illness. BUT… when they don’t want it and are unwilling to receive help or just not ready to stop; is it still our responsibility?! Regardless she should be held accountable for her actions. She chose to get behind the wheel not once but twice and thank god she didn’t kill anyone. It’s selfish…

いいね!

Breadoflife Faiupu
Breadoflife Faiupu
2023年4月16日

Douglas Lenhardt...I've never met a bigger sleazeball.

いいね!

Nicholas Wittenmyer
Nicholas Wittenmyer
2023年4月15日

She will use her influence to avoid prosecution. DA Gonzalez won't prosecute her. She needs to resign and go to rehab. She is a danger to the public.

いいね!
Classic City News
Classic City News
2023年4月15日
返信先

I am impressed that you apparently use your actual name, not hiding behind a nom de Guerre.

いいね!
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