Ex-Michigan House Speaker Accused of Drunken Driving

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The former speaker of the Michigan House was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after police said he was so inebriated that he couldn't stand up on his own.

Witnesses called police Feb. 9 to report they saw a man, who police later identified as former Republican Speaker Craig DeRoche, drunkenly leave his car and walk up to a store in Saline, near Ann Arbor, Saline police Chief Paul Bunten said.

Officers arrived at about 5:30 p.m. to find DeRoche stumbling in the snow, Bunten said. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.249 percent, more than three times Michigan's legal limit for driving of .08, police said.

"The officers were very concerned because, although that's a very high blood-alcohol level, he couldn't stand up without being helped," Bunten said.

Police took DeRoche to a hospital, where he was evaluated and a blood test was administered. Test results won't come back for a few weeks.

City attorney Allan Grossman will decide whether to charge DeRoche. A message seeking comment was left Monday with Grossman.

"I'll cooperate fully with the police and the court," DeRoche said. "No ticket has been issued."

Police didn't see DeRoche driving, but Bunten said witnesses did. DeRoche appeared to hit a curb, and his car had a flat tire.

"Just because I wasn't driving my car at the time doesn't mean I don't accept responsibility for drinking more than I should have and hope to learn from my mistake and never put myself in that situation again," DeRoche said Monday.

DeRoche, 39, told police he was in the area for a business meeting and also spent time at a local bar. But Bunten said DeRoche "didn't know which one or where it was."

DeRoche, of Novi, was House speaker in 2005-06 and left office after six years because of term limits. He owns an insurance quoting service.

AnnArbor.com reported details of DeRoche's arrest on Friday.