Ford executive Elena Ford said that when her car weaved and hit a median curb it was partly due to her trying to make a call on her cellphone. Somewhat ironically, Ford Motor Co. has taken the lead in outfitting its cars with the SYNC system, developed in conjunction with Microsoft. The system allows drivers to operate their audio system and make phone calls, through their blue-tooth phone, by voice command. Look mom, no hands!
Here's the story of Ford admitting to drunk driving, written by Michael P. McConnell of the Daily Tribune/Macomb Daily.
In a guilty plea punctuated with tears and sobs, Ford heiress Elena Ford admitted she had four glasses of wine and was intoxicated when she was arrested earlier this month for drunken driving with her 11-year-old son in the car.
“Being here is something I’ve never experienced before,” Ford, 44, of Birmingham, told Ferndale 43rd District Court Judge Joseph Longo on Thursday. “It’s a complete embarrassment to my family, especially my son and my friends … I can’t tell you how sorry I am this happened.”
Ford was arrested April 3 on Woodward, north of Nine Mile Road, after police said she was speeding in her Ford Explorer. The vehicle swerved before the driver’s side wheels went over a median curb and then she was stopped by police. Her blood-alcohol level was 0.14 according to a test taken at the police station, nearly twice the state limit of 0.08 for drunken driving.
Flanked by her attorney Todd Flood and other attorneys, Ford pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of impaired driving and child endangerment.
Ford, the great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford and the director of global marketing for the automaker, was sentenced to two years probation, ordered to complete 240 hours of community service, attend counseling and pay $1,518 in fines and costs. She also has to pay a $35 monthly probation charge.
Longo prohibited Ford from using any alcohol or non-prescribed drugs during her probation, saying she will be given random drug-screen tests.
Longo told Ford he was giving her the same sentence he gives to any first-time offender — including a 93-day jail sentence that is deferred and dismissed once she completes her probation.
However, Longo warned that if she violates probation she faces jail time.
“If you mess up it’s going to cost you 93 days,” he said.
Flood unsuccessfully pleaded to have Ford’s probation reduced to one year while allowing her to attend private counseling sessions rather than those conducted through the court. He highlighted Ford’s character in admitting her guilt rather than delaying her case with more hearings and a trial.
“Ms. Ford stepped up to the plate,” Flood said. “She’s owning up to her responsibility.”
Ford does not abuse alcohol or show symptoms of alcoholism, according to a psychological test she took through the probation department before she was sentenced.
“I’m convinced … you don’t have a drinking problem,” Longo said.
Ford released a statement through her attorneys in which she apologized for her actions April 3.
“I deeply regret my decision to drive that night and am thankful no one was hurt,” she said. “My lack of judgment was unacceptable and was my responsibility alone. I hope through this experience I can help educate others against making the same error in judgment I have made.”
At the time of her arrest Ford told police she was trying to make a phone call when her vehicle swerved.
Officers first spotted her gray 2011 Ford Explorer traveling at 50 mph in a 35 mph zone about 10 p.m. police said.
Her eyes were reportedly glassy and her face flushed when she was pulled over and police said they detected a strong odor of alcohol. She flunked field sobriety tests.
She was only able to recite the alphabet up to the letter G before she faltered, according to a police report. Ford told police she had had two drinks, the last an hour before. She stumbled at the number 96 when asked to count backward from 100, police said.
Ford told police she did not want to take a preliminary breath test without talking to her attorney. After police told her she was under arrest for drunken driving, she relented and took the test, police said. Ford sucked in rather than blowing into the test device and had to be reminded of the instructions, police said.
She was handcuffed and put in a patrol car and taken to the Ferndale police station, while her son was taken there in a separate patrol car, police said.
The son was later turned over to Ford’s attorney at the station, police said. Ford, the mother of four, was cooperative and “nice as pie,” police Chief Timothy Collins said later.
Ford took a breathalyzer test at the police station about an hour after she was stopped that showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14. She was released to Flood’s custody about 3:15 a.m. the next day after posting a $500 bond.
Because she had her son in the SUV with her, Ford was charged with child endangerment, a misdemeanor on a first offense, but a felony if there any subsequent offenses.