December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Grafton mayor’s arrest not first brush with law

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan

Megan Flanigan

GRAFTON — Saturday’s drunken driving, failure to control and leaving the scene of an accident charges are the latest driving charges against Mayor Megan Flanigan, but not the first.

The 32-year-old Flanigan has at least four violations since 2003, according to court records. They include a 2003 speeding conviction, failure to yield in 2006, failure to control in 2008 and driving with expired plates July 15.

Around 3:10 a.m. Saturday, Flanigan is accused of hitting a fire hydrant with her Chevrolet sport utility vehicle at the intersection of Fox Run and Hunting Hollow near Flanigan’s home in the 1100 block of Fox Run. Flanigan’s license plate was found by the hydrant, and the Chevrolet had substantial front-end damage, according to a report by Sgt. Robert Perkins of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office.

Flanigan, who didn’t return calls Sunday, denied hitting anything and denied drinking. However, deputies said her speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol. They said Flanigan, who said she had a sprained ankle, was unsteady on her feet and failed a field sobriety test.

“On more than one occasion, I had to catch her from falling,” Deputy Adam Trifiletti wrote in his report.

Flanigan, due in Elyria Municipal Court on Tuesday, refused to take breathalyzer test at the Lorain County Jail, according to the report. Refusal is an automatic license suspension, and Flanigan’s license was seized.

Perkins wrote that after Flanigan got out of his police cruiser, he found a small plastic baggy in the back seat with a pill in it. Perkins, who didn’t identify what kind of pill it was, said Flanigan was the only person in the back seat during his shift, and the back seat had been cleaned and checked by a deputy from the prior shift.

Randy Moore, village Council president, said Sunday he hasn’t spoken to Flanigan since the incident. Moore said he checked Saturday with attorney Tom Smith, who represents Grafton, about the potential ramifications of Flanigan’s legal problems.

Moore would temporarily succeed Flanigan, who took office in 2012, if she left office before her term expires Dec. 31, 2015. The position is part time.

Moore said Flanigan has done a good job as mayor, but he expects she may be criticized about the arrest by residents at Tuesday’s Council meeting. Moore wouldn’t comment on Flanigan’s case, but said in general, he believes elected officials need to hold themselves to high ethical standards because they represent the public. Moore said he was appointed to Council in 1994 after the councilman he succeeded resigned after a drunken driving arrest.

“Perception is the biggest thing,” Moore said. “It’s not a good example to set.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com