Decision Not To Charge La Mesa Mayor's Driver Questioned
6:30 AM, Feb 28, 2008
Questions are being raised about the decision not to charge the driver of La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid with driving under the influence.At least one La Mesa councilmember is expected to call for an investigation."The driver's lying in the driver seat. I don't know if they're passed out," a resident said on a 911 call.The driver to whom the caller is referring is Patricia Turner.Turner drove Madrid home after a night of heavy drinking.Before they reached the home, Madrid asked Turner to stop the car and let him out."I sat on the curb, and I got sick," Madrid said.Turner was not much better."Both parties had gotten sick," said La Mesa Police Department Chief Alan Lanning. "She was seated or leaning against the driver's seat with her legs and feet outside of the vehicle (with the car running)."But because nobody saw Turner driving Madrid's car, the decision was made to take her, along with the mayor, to his house a block away.There was no sobriety test or blood drawn.Lanning said, "They obviously recognized some level of intoxication in her, and clearly officers were not going to allow her to drive."Lanning added that this was not a case of special treatment, saying others have received similar service.In Thursday's meeting, Lanning said he planned to share that information."We think we can provide to the council with at least some basis for comparison," said Lanning.Pat Hodgkin, executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said she thinks the police did the right thing."If we knew for a fact that he or she were driving drunk, absolutely we would ask for something. We would demand something to be done about it," said Hodgkin.Nobody saw Turner driving except Madrid."She was the one who drove me home," said Madrid.