A traffic stop by Troy Police officers patrolling Big Beaver Road four weeks ago wound up being far from routine.
They recognized the pulled-over pickup driver immediately -- colleague Candace LaForest of their force. The officer was off-duty and allegedly hit a median curb twice around midnight, John Turk writes in The Macomb Daily.
The 34-year-old was stopped on a Saturday night near Rochester Road, heading east -- presumably to her home in Macomb Township.
What happened next contrasts with how Detroit police ticketed and released a councilman stopped the previous week with an empty rum bottle and pot aroma in his car.
Turk tells why LaForest, a Troy cop since 2005, is on administrative leave:
[She] pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Troy District Court to operating with a high blood-alcohol content, a misdemeanor that carries up to a 180-day jail stay upon conviction, according to Michigan’s super drunk laws. . . .
The investigation stems from a traffic stop around midnight Jan. 18. . . . Police approached the driver, identified her as LaForest — who was off duty — then detected a “very strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver and compartment area,” according to police reports.
She refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested for operating while intoxicated. A blood sample was taken and submitted to Michigan State Police for analysis, police said.
The results, which returned from the lab about a week later, indicated that the driver had a 0.27 percent blood alcohol content — more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 to drive a car, prompting the charges.
The case took a month to reach court because of the Michigan State Police lab work and district court discussions about moving it to another jurisdiction, the Macomb paper explains. It was transferred this week to Novi's 52nd District Court, MLive.com reports.
Troy Capt. Robert Redmond tells Turk the process moved in an “expeditious manner” to avoid any appearance of “stone-walling.”
"She will be held accountable for her actions.”
LaForest, a civilian police employee in Troy for more than three years before becoming an officer, is free on $1,000 personal bond, Turk's article says.