MUSKEGON, Mich. – An Ottawa County corrections officer pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving with a blood alcohol content of .17 or higher Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, an internal investigation is underway to determine whether or not the officer was released early from jail after his arrest, before he was sober to legally drive.
Corrections Officer Dennis Robert Smith pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving with a BAC of .17 or higher. A source close to the investigation told FOX 17 News that Smith had a BAC of .22, which is nearly three times the legal limit. This qualifies as “super drunk” under Michigan law, which carries more severe consequences.
Smith lives in Muskegon and was driving near 9th Street and Muskegon Street May 1, when Muskegon Police arrested him. However, before Smith’s BAC dropped below the legal limit, officials said he was released early from the Muskegon County Jail.
Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler said Smith was released from jail then on a $1,000 bond, and a part-time deputy who works for both Ottawa and Muskegon County Sheriff Departments, drove Smith home. Roesler would not comment on the open internal investigation that the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department is leading.
Officials said Smith remained on the job at Ottawa County Corrections throughout this.
If Smith is convicted, he faces up to six months in jail, up to a $700 fine, along with other driving penalties. Smith is due back in court June 2, for a pre-trial conference.