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Local News

January 15, 2014

Judicial candidate Morrison arrested; says charges of resisting arrest, public intoxication are unfounded

PORT ARTHUR — Longtime Port Arthur attorney and Democratic candidate for the 252nd District Judge’s seat Stella Morrison is denying allegations of public intoxication and resisting arrest after she was jailed Monday afternoon on those charges.

A Beaumont Police officer was sent to 4055 Calder Ave., the site of Harmony Science Academy in Beaumont, about a possible intoxicated person driving a white Lincoln Towncar. Two witnesses called dispatch about a woman driving recklessly, according to the Beaumont Police Department’s public information office. The witnesses said they honked and waved for the driver to stop in the Academy parking lot.

“Witnesses saw her hit a curb and blow out a tire,” BPD Sgt. Rob Flores Jr. said.

The driver struck the curb several other times and had swerved from lane to lane, according to police.

The witnesses said they were changing the woman’s tire when the officer arrived. She was “unsteady on her feet,” “stumbled several times” and was “slow answering questions,” police said. There were also several prescription bottles in the vehicle.

Believing the woman to be intoxicated, the officer asked Morrison for her identification, but she ignored the officer, according to information from BPD. The officer asked several more times before — police allege — Morrison “squared her shoulders off and looked like she was about to strike” the officer while saying “you’re not getting anything from me.”

The woman moved toward the officer and the two witnesses helped the officer handcuff her, BPD said.

Morrison disagrees with the police department’s version of the incident.

“I was arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest, however I disagree with the charges,” Morrison said by phone. “I don’t think I should have been charged with anything, therefore I will challenge it.”

Morrison said the arresting officer was rude and seemed “gung ho to arrest somebody, it didn’t matter who.”

“I don’t understand why she would arrest me for public intoxication; I’ve never had a drink in my life,” she said.

The longtime attorney said she does take prescription medication for anxiety, tremors and blood pressure and has never had a reaction to the medication.

Morrision said the reason for the flat tire was that she hit a curb in the road that was sticking out too close to the street. This, she said, caused her car to run differently.

“There were two men in a truck who kept blowing their horn at me. I looked up and saw them waving. So I pulled up in the parking lot,” she said. “They immediately got out of their vehicle and started walking to my car.”

The men noticed that her tire was “slashed” and one went to her trunk to retrieve her spare tire while the other man grabbed tools from the truck.

It was at this time that the officer arrived, she said.

Morrison said she told the officer of the medication in the car and the officer looked at the bottles and left them. She also said the officer did not perform a field sobriety test, take blood or give a breathalyzer test.

“How they were able to arrive at that (intoxication), I don’t know,” she said.

Incidents such as this are why Morrison is running for the judge’s seat, she said.

“One of the reasons I’m running for judge today is that too many of our citizens are victims of illegal arrest,” she said, adding that the officer should have easily arrived at her decision that no laws in the State of Texas or Jefferson County were broken.

“I was violated,” she said referring to the arrest and charges.

Public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor and resisting arrest is a Class A misdemeanor.

The case remains under investigation as detectives take statements from the two witnesses, Flores said.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

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