December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Grafton Mayor charged with drunken driving ‘extremely embarrassed’

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan gives a brief statement at the council meeting on Tuesday evening, just days after she was charged with drunken driving. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan gives a brief statement at the council meeting on Tuesday evening, just days after she was charged with drunken driving. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

GRAFTON — Mayor Megan Flanigan at Tuesday’s Village Council meeting apologized for her Saturday drunken driving arrest.

“I am without a doubt extremely embarrassed, and I’m deeply sorry,” said Flanigan, who faces drunken driving, failure to control and leaving the scene of an accident charges.

Flanigan is accused of hitting a fire hydrant with her Chevrolet sport utility vehicle at the intersection of Fox Run and Hunting Hollow near her home. Police said Flanigan denied drinking but nearly fell during a failed field sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer test, triggering an automatic driver’s license suspension.

Toni Morgan, the North Ridgeville assistant law director and prosecutor appointed as a special prosecutor to handle the case, has refused to make video of Flanigan’s arrest public.

Flanigan didn’t appear at Elyria Municipal Court on Tuesday morning for her arraignment. A not guilty plea was faxed to the court by her attorney, Daniel Wightman. Flanigan, due back in court Nov. 20, is free on a $2,230 bond.

Flanigan told the meeting’s audience of about 40 people that Friday was an “emotional day for personal reasons.”

The 32-year-old Flanigan, whose driving record includes failure to control, failure to yield, speeding and driving with expired plates violations, said her behavior was “out of character.”

Flanigan, who took office in 2012 and earns about $13,400 annually for the part-time position, said she had never shirked her responsibilities as mayor.

“This will be no exception,” she said.

Flanigan said before the meeting that on the advice of Wightman, she would not comment beyond the written statement she read to the audience. Police said they found a pill in a baggie in the back seat of the police cruiser Flanigan was taken to the Lorain County Jail in.

Flanigan said Tuesday she didn’t know what kind of pill it was and it wasn’t hers. Police said they are awaiting laboratory results on the ingredients of the pill.

No one addressed Flanigan’s arrest during the public speaking portion of the meeting. A few people, who didn’t want to identify themselves, said after the meeting that they would’ve spoken but were afraid they would be cut off.

Council President Randy Moore said village attorney Tom Smith advised him not to allow public comment on the arrest because it involved a personal matter rather than Flanigan’s mayoral duties.

Reporter Chelsea Miller contributed to this story.

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