Texas Judge Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving
FORT WORTH, Texas – A judge was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving by a police officer patrolling an interstate highway, authorities said.
State District Judge Elizabeth Berry was booked into the Johnson County Jail on Saturday afternoon on a probable cause warrant by Alvarado police after being arrested in Interstate 35W south of Fort Worth, said sheriff's Lt. Tim Jones. She was booked and then released on a personal recognizance bond, he said.
In a statement released through her attorney Mark Daniel, Berry said it was premature to discuss the allegations.
"There are a number of factual and legal issues before I can make any statement," she said. "In the meantime, it's my duty to preside over my court in an efficient manner and this matter will have no effect on my decisions."
Daniel said it is too soon to discuss specifics, including why police stopped Berry and whether her blood-alcohol level was tested, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Tuesday editions.
"Judge Berry is a very highly respected judge," he said. "We are presently doing our own work and investigation. It is my belief that when all the dust settles this will likely be unfounded."
The Johnson County Attorney's Office, which prosecutes misdemeanor drunken-driving cases, probably will not get the case for two weeks, a representative said.
This summer Berry presided over the trial of Samuel Lee Hilburn, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the 2006 death of Fort Worth police Officer Dwayne Freeto.
The officer had stopped on an interstate shoulder to help a motorist with a flat tire when Hilburn slammed into the back of the patrol car, causing it to burst into flames as Freeto was pinned inside.