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Michigan cop charged with OWI

A Battle Creek, Michigan, police officer faces three charges in connection with an off-duty car accident he was involved in earlier this year.

The prosecutor in Calhoun County said the officer faces a felony charge of obstructing and resisting police officers, along with two misdemeanor counts of drinking and driving and failing to report an accident involving fixtures.

The officer allegedly lost control of a car while driving at 100 miles per hour in the July 31 accident. The car careened into a curb, two signs and two mailboxes on West Michigan Avenue in Bedford Township.

Police in Battle Creek said the man registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.235 percent, or nearly three times the state legal limit. Another off-duty officer was a passenger in the car. No injuries were reported.

The driver, 37, was suspended for 20 days by the police chief following the accident. Since facing an internal review and punishment, the man has been back on the job and doing good work, the police chief said.

Any further disciplinary action will not come until the officer's case has made its way through the court system, according to the chief. Because the accident happened while the officer was off-duty, the city is not responsible for any legal fees.

The police officer still faces arraignment and then a preliminary hearing on the charges. If convicted, he could spend up to two years in prison on the charge of resisting and obstructing, 93 days in jail on the OWI charge and an additional 90 days for failing to report the accident.

After undergoing the rigorous internal review, the officer knows he cannot have a further black mark on his record to keep his job. That makes him an ideal candidate, should he be found guilty, for probation and an alcohol awareness program.

Source: Battle Creek Enquirer, "Battle Creek police officer charged in connection with drunken driving crash," Trace Christenson, Oct. 24, 2012

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