KALKASKA COUNTY, MI (WJRT/CNN) - A sheriff was found “super drunk” in his car, and yes, that is actually an official police term.
Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Deputy Ashley VanSloten knocked on the car window of Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson late in the afternoon on Nov. 16.
“Sir, you need to wake up and talk to me,” VanSloten said.
A passerby called police to say that a car was off the road with a man inside it. It took a little time but Stephenson woke up and spoke with the deputy.
“My dispatcher called, someone thought you were dead over here,” VanSloten said.
Stephenson told the deputy he was on a deer hunting trip and had been driving from Gladwin County. He admitted he had been drinking earlier in the day.
The video and audio recording indicates that once an emergency medical crew arrived, Stephenson became aware of the severity of the situation and told the deputy: “(obscenity bleeped out) Midland County Sheriff,” Stephenson said.
He told the deputy he had a bad day.
A short time later, the Garfield Township Police Chief Jerry Cannon arrived on the scene.
Cannon, the former sheriff of Kalkaska County, knows Stephenson and can be heard talking to the deputy and Stephenson.
“I can take responsibility for him. I know you got to do what you got to do,” Cannon said.
That was said before sobriety tests were performed.
The police report shows Stephenson had trouble with the test. He worried he wouldn’t pass a preliminary breath test.
He can be heard asking the two not to arrest him.
“Jesus Christ, I’m the sheriff,” Stephenson said. “I know,” VanSloten said.
A portable Breathalyzer test was given, and Stephenson’s reading came in at .23, above the super drunk limit of .17.
Stephenson again asked VanSloten and Cannon to not place him under arrest.
Cannon did make a phone call, walked away for a bit but eventually came back saying Stephenson had to go to jail. It’s not clear who he called.
Stephenson apologized to VanSloten for putting her in this position and the deputy could be heard several times saying she was sorry but there was nothing she nor Cannon could do.
“It was called in. It was over the radio,” VanSloten said.
In the end, Stephenson was arrested and taken to the Kalkaska County jail.
“I made a poor choice, I drank too much today,” Stephenson said.
“You own it, and people will understand,” Garfield Township Police Chief Jerry Cannon said.
Stephenson pleaded guilty last Thursday to operating a motor vehicle while visibly impaired. He was placed on probation for a year and fined.
He has apologized to the public for what happened.