Councilwoman Winslow’s DUI Even Worse than it First Seems
(APN) ATLANTA – Councilwoman Cleta Winslow (District 4), the second-most senior member of the City Council of Atlanta, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), reckless driving, and other offenses last night, Tuesday, May 07, 2013.
She was arrested at the corner of Peeple’s Street SW and Oglethorpe Avenue SW, after Atlanta police observed Winslow driving in the wrong lane, weaving on the roadway, and running both a red light and a stop sign, according to a copy of the police report, obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.
Winslow was arrested only a block and a half away from her home on Oglethorpe Avenue.
“Officer Witter stated that when he approached the driver, she seemed very distant/out of it and had a very slow reaction to his questions and commands,” the report stated.
“Officer Witter stated that she had glassy eyes and was squinting, also when he asked her to step from the vehicle she could not find the door handle to exit the car, in fact she was turning her car on and off in an attempt to exit the vehicle,” the report stated.
Winslow also had a bit of a Reese Witherspoon moment, reportedly telling the officer, “I should not play games with her,” according to the report.
Winslow said she was returning home from the Elliott Street Deli & Pub–which is located at 51 Elliott Street SW–and that she had consumed two dirty martinis.
According to the report, Winslow exhibited a difficult time understanding what was going on, standing up, or engaging in conversation with APD.
APN can reveal that Winslow is also known to frequent a bar in Atlanta every Tuesday night, called Space, which is located on White Street SW, not far from Oglethorpe Avenue.
Winslow was known to drink wine every Tuesday night at Space from approximately 7pm to 11pm, one constituent told Atlanta Progressive News. Constituents wanting to discuss an issue with Winslow in person knew that they could find Winslow at Space.
“Say it ain’t so,” one friend of Winslow’s wrote on her Facebook page regarding the DUI.
“It is so,” another person replied. “She’s drunk every week at Space Atlanta. I’m embarassed [sic].”
Winslow refused to conduct a field sobriety test.
However, if Winslow was driving home and was arrested only a block and a half away from her home, this suggests she was extremely drunk and intoxicated. That is, she was drunk enough to be driving in the wrong lane and missing a red light only a block away from her home, on a street she should be well familiar with.
State Sen. Donzella James (D-College Park), whose son was killed by a drunk driver in 1994 and who has been an active supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, condemned Winslow’s behavior in an interview with APN.
James, who described herself as a friend of Winslow’s, said, “I’m very sad that she became impaired and got behind a wheel of a car.”
“I’m glad she was stopped before she hurt anyone, including herself,” James said.
James said that most people who get caught driving drunk one time, have driven drunk without getting caught at least twenty times.
“She could’ve injured herself or maimed someone on the road. They could’ve ended up like my son,” James said, “in Heaven.”
“I am deeply disappointed in our current councilwoman and her actions, but this further echoes the need for new leadership,” Torry Lewis, a candidate for the District 4 seat, said in a statement.
“A councilperson must be able to make sound judgments for the community’s sake and that starts with making good personal judgments,” Lewis said.
Lewis–who is a political science adjunct professor and PhD student at Clark Atlanta University–is mounting a serious campaign against Winslow. He has a very large van that he is driving around District 4, spreading his message.
“I am aware that Councilwoman Cleta Winslow was arrested by Atlanta Police on suspicion of DUI on the evening of May 7. This is a personal matter for Councilwoman Winslow, and the most prudent thing to do at this time is to allow the judicial process to take its proper course. My thoughts and prayers are with the Councilwoman and her family,” Council President Ceasar Mitchell said in a statement.
First elected in 1993, Winslow has been reelected four times, in 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2009.
Most recently, in 2009, she beat back several challengers including LaShawn Hoffman.
This is not the first of ethical issues to plague Winslow. She was fined 1,500 dollars by the Ethics Office of the City of Atlanta in 2010 for using Council Office funds for campaign expenses.
Winslow’s Council office did not immediately return a voicemail left by APN seeking comment.