Brimfield, OH – A Portage County judge was arrested for drunk driving on Sunday, after she ran her SUV off an exit ramp into a snow-filled ditch and told the arresting officer she was drunk more than once (video below).
The incident began at about 9:16 p.m. on Feb. 10 when a passerby called police to report a vehicle had slid off the road and into a ditch, the Record-Courier reported.
The Brimfield police officer’s bodycam video showed that Portage County Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty was still sitting behind the wheel of a silver 2016 GMC Terrain, where it stopped on a snowy embankment, when an officer arrived on the scene.
“Ma’am, you’ve got vomit down here on your door,” the officer told her.
“I know,” Doherty responded in the video.
“Have you been drinking?” the officer asked.
“Yes,” the judge responded.
“Okay,” the officer said.
“I’m Becky Doherty, I’m a judge,” she told him in the video.
“You’re a judge?” the officer asked, with a tone of disbelief.
Doherty, 55, is also a former prosecutor.
The officer got Doherty out of her vehicle and told her he was going to put her in the back of his cruiser and take her to the station for a breathalyzer, the video showed.
“I don’t care,” she told him on the video.
Once she was seated in the back of the patrol vehicle – without handcuffs – the judge became hysterical.
Then the officer told her she was under arrest for suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence.
“Are you kidding me?” Doherty shrieked in the video.
“Am I kidding about what?” the officer asked.
“I am absolutely out of my mind with…” the judge seemed to be at a loss for words.
“You’re intoxicated,” the officer volunteered.
“I am so intoxicated,” the judge replied in the video, emphasizing the word “so.”
Officers attempted to administer field sobriety tests in the garage at the police station but Doherty struggled to follow the directions, the Record-Courier reported.
After she was unable to track the officer’s hand without moving her head, the judge quit the test and was placed in a holding cell.
An officer then asked her to perform a breathalyzer test, and she refused, the video showed.
The penalty for refusing to take a BAC test in Ohio is an automatic one-year driver’s license suspension, the Record-Courier reported.
Instead, she told the officer that he needed to call Portage County Sheriff’s Major Larry Limbert, the video showed.
Major Limbert is the commander of the Portage County Drug Task Force, according to his LinkedIn page.
Doherty oversees the HOPE Drug Court as part of her judicial duties, the Record-Courier reported.
The video showed she asked again for her cell phone in the booking area to call Major Limbert, but the officer told her that her phone was back in the SUV.
“What’s the deal?” Doherty asked dramatically.
“What’s the deal with what?” the officer asked.
“Give me my phone,” she demanded on the video. “I would like to make a phone call.”
“Your phone,” the officer replied, starting to sound frustrated, “is in a puddle of vomit in your car which is on the side of the road that you crashed into.”
“Yes!” she replied.
The Record-Courier reviewed 10 different videos from the incident and reported that Doherty got progressively more belligerent and emotional as her arrest unfolded.
She broke down crying several times and told officers that she was going to a funeral on Monday for a drug court defendant.
“You have no idea how it affected my probation officer and me. I can’t keep losing these kids,” she told the officers, according to the Record-Courier.
Doherty was elected as a judge to the Common Pleas Court in 2015.
She was a criminal prosecutor for 23 years before she was elected to the bench, the Record-Courier reported.
You can see video from the incident below: