A judge driving with his boss was charged with drunken driving after a wreck that sent another motorist to the hospital, and the other judge was seen by an officer pouring out a can of beer, police said.
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Patrick Young, 58, was handcuffed and arrested and charged with drunken driving after the Sunday crash, about 20 miles from St. Louis. He refused a sobriety test, authorities said.
Another officer, Jeffrey Sheary, reported seeing Young’s passenger, Chief Judge Jan Fiss, 64, pour out an open beer can on the road and try to hide it in his coat.
It was not immediately clear Thursday if Fiss had been charged.
In his report, Belleville police Patrolman Shane Brown said Young was apparently turning left in his sport utility vehicle when he entered the path of a pickup truck. Its driver, Abel Muhammad, 39, was trapped in the wreckage and later hospitalized complaining of a broken leg.
Brown reported detecting “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” on Young’s breath. He wrote Young “also had glassy, red bloodshot eyes.”
Young’s attorney, Clyde Kuehn, said Thursday his client was “absolutely within his rights” to refuse a field sobriety test and a Breathalyzer test, saying the tests have proven unreliable.
Refusing a blood alcohol test leads to a six-month license suspension in Illinois. The misdemeanor DUI count carries a maximum punishment of a year in jail and $1,000 in fines, Kuehn said.
Young was released after posting his driver’s license and $100 as bond.
Messages left Thursday for both judges through the court were not immediately returned.