Columbus' First Lady Sentenced in drunk driving case
In court, Mrs. Coleman told Judge Scott Van Der Karr she wants to put the arrest and punishment behind her and get on with her life. "I made a mistake. I have accepted the consequences of my mistake," Coleman stated.
In addition to the mandatory jail time, Judge Van Der Karr also placed Mrs. Coleman on one year probation. But, Prosecutor Steve McIntosh says its possible probation will be lifted earlier.
As long as she pays her fine and costs, as long as does spend her time in jail, as long as she doesn't do any similar types of offenses, then she'll be off of probation in a year or earlier. It is not unusual for defense attorneys to come back once their clients have completed everything and all of the conditions," McIntosh explained.
After sentencing, Mrs. Coleman and Mayor Michael Coleman declined interviews. Defense attorney Ben Espy told reporters Mrs. Coleman will have limited driving privileges. "She's allowed to drive occupational driving privileges, like anyone else would get, which we're going to apply for and the judge is going to sign that. He did impose a three day jail sentence and we hope to accomplish that by the due date of March 24th of next year. And right now, we're trying to decide where we're going to satisfy that requirement," Espy said.
The high profile case was closely monitored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Spokeswoman Julie Leggett says publicity about the case will help her organization combat drunk driving. "I believe it's a good thing for MADD because I think that everyone needs to realize that people who get behind the wheel impaired affect all our community, everyone who is out there on the road. And when people are irresponsible no matter what class they come from, it affects everyone that is out driving and it affects far beyond the person that made the irresponsible decision," Leggett said.
Mrs. Coleman must serve her three day jail term before March 24th.