Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson arrested for drunken driving

Published: Nov. 29, 2018 at 4:20 PM EST
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(11/29/2018) - The Midland County sheriff was arrested earlier this month, accused of drunken driving.

Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson was arrested in Kalakaska County on Nov. 16. He's still on the job and he plans on continuing to serve as sheriff while the case goes through the court system.

Stephenson, who has been the sheriff in Midland County for nearly six years, said he was in Kalakaska County at a deer camp on Nov. 16. He admits he had been drinking when he got into his vehicle and drove a short distance to find a high spot so he could use his cell phone.

While driving, Stephenson said he felt the effects of alcohol setting in and pulled over the side of the road. He tried to call someone at the deer camp to pick him, but nobody answered so he waited for a ride.

However, a passerby called the Kalkaska County Sheriff's Office to report the vehicle parked alongside the road. A deputy arrived and suspected Stephenson had been drinking.

Stephenson was not behind the wheel when the deputy arrived. But under Michigan law, if officers have reason to believe someone was driving while under the influence, they may have probable cause to make an arrest without seeing it happen firsthand.

Stephenson was arrested on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and was lodged in the Kalkaska County Jail.

Stephenson has not been arraigned yet in Kalkaska County District Court. Kalkaska County Sheriff Patrick Whiteford could not be reached for comment about the case.

Stephenson released a statement, saying in part that he intends to plead guilty in court and seek counseling. He added that he failed to hold himself to the standards to which he has set for himself.

"I am accepting responsibility for my poor choice and will comply with court's orders and recommendations," he said.

See Related Documents on the right side of this story for Stephenson's full statement about the incident.

Midland County commissioners and Midland County Administrator Bridgette Gransden could not be reached for comment Thursday.