HILLSBORO, MO (KPLR) – Authorities say a Jefferson County judge could face driving drunk and felony assault charges after the judge was arrested Tuesday night following an accident.
We are not naming the judge involved because he's not been charged in the case. Our questions involved the accident and how the courts will handle the docket next week, especially since some of the cases scheduled are DWI cases.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol crash report the accident occurred around 9:30 Tuesday night on Route BB South of Cedar Rock Road in Jefferson County. The driver was arrested on Highway Patrol charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and felony assault 2nd degree. "He went off the road, struck a pole and his vehicle over turned. This individual was arrested by one of our troopers for DWI and assault 2nd. There was a passenger in the car who was trapped," said Sgt. AL Nothum.
That passenger refused comment, and attempts to reach the judge, who was driving the car have gone unanswered.
We did talk with the Jefferson County Prosecutor's Office and the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office and both indicated they are aware of the incident but at this time no action has been taken as they are both awaiting the final report from the Missouri Highway Patrol.
At issue is whether or not the judge will be on the bench next week, and if not, how cases assigned to his court will be handled. A check today by FOX 2 of the docket indicated multiple cases next week involving DWI cases. An attorney representing a defendant in one of those cases told FOX 2 Wednesday he expected his case to be continued. The Highway Patrol says it handles too many of these accidents. " So we stress all the time drink as much as you want but don’t get behind the wheel. No one is exempt," said Sgt. Nothum
We also asked whether or not a special prosecutor would be appointed to review last night's accident, but we are told the final decision on possible charges will be made by the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The decision could takes weeks, or months.
The judge involved in the accident Tuesday night was taken to the Jefferson County Jail and then released. It's important to note the judge was not re-elected to office in the November election, and will leave the bench in January.