December 18, 2014

Elyria
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UPDATED: Grafton mayor pleads no contest to DUI charge

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan gives a brief statement at an October council meeting. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan gives a brief statement at an October council meeting. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Grafton Mayor Megan Flanigan on Tuesday pleaded no contest in Elyria Municipal Court to charges of DUI and failure to stop after an accident.

Additional charges of failure to control her vehicle and possession of drugs stemming from her Sept. 28, 2013, arrest were dropped, according to court records.

Flanigan, 32, was arrested when she failed field sobriety tests after she struck a fire hydrant near the intersection of Fox Run and Hunting Hollow about 3 a.m. A Grafton police officer discovered the mayor and her damaged Chevrolet SUV and called in Lorain County sheriff’s deputies to handle the investigation.

On the night of the crash, Flanigan denied knowing what had caused the damage to her SUV and insisted that she wasn’t responsible for hitting the fire hydrant, although pieces of her vehicle were found near it.

Deputies later found a pill used to prevent withdrawal symptoms for those addicted to opioids such as heroin in the back seat of the patrol car Flanigan had ridden in. Deputies said that Flanigan was the only person to ride in the cruiser the night of her arrest.

Flanigan declined to comment on her plea Tuesday.

Her attorney, Jack Bradley, said Flanigan took a drug screening that included tests on her hair, which can determine drug use months before, and that led to the drug charge being dropped.

“It was negative for everything,” Bradley said.

Flanigan was fined $600 and sentenced to three days in jail. She has attended a driver’s intervention program that will allow her to avoid time behind bars, Bradley said. Her driver’s license also was suspended for six months retroactive to the day of the incident, but she will have work driving privileges.

She apologized during a Grafton Village Council meeting shortly after her arrest.

“She wanted to take responsibility for what she did,” Bradley said after the plea hearing. “She’s ready to move on and take care of her duties as mayor.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.