LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — A local lawmaker caught swerving and driving on two flat tires was arrested for drunken driving, and her record shows this isn’t the first time.
After years of failed attempts, a controversial bill passed in Lansing during the summer of 2021, allowing first time drunken drivers to get their records swiped clean after five years.
The law went into effect Feb. 19. Six days later, one of the bill’s co-sponsors Rep. Mary Cavanagh was arrested a for drunken driving.
This is the 30-year-old's second offense — the first happened in 2015 and led to a year of probation. The Wayne State University graduate is currently serving her first term as the state representative for the 10th district.
“She’s a legislator, she should know better,” Ken Hampton said.
Hampton is a pastor of a church in Redford, the district Cavanagh represents. As the head of a congregation, one could say he knows a thing or two about leadership. And one of the first rules: Lead by example.
“And if we don’t set an example with the legislative body, why should the rest of us follow such people,” Hampton said.
According to a police report, it was 2 a.m. on that day in February when Cavanagh was pulled over by Livonia police on Schoolcraft and Middlebelt Road.
Police say she was swerving lanes and both of the tires on the driver’s side were busted. One was damaged to the point that the rubber was disconnected from the rim.
Cavanagh was arrested, her car was impounded and charges were filed without many of her colleagues' knowledge.
On Wednesday, Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth sent a statement to 7 Action News:
"Until today, nobody ever admitted to what happened, hoping it would go away unnoticed. And unfortunately, that means everyone is still trying to figure it out. Thankfully, the Livonia Police were on alert and intervened before anything tragic happened.
"I just hope Leader Lasinski and the Democrat caucus didn’t know and try to keep it under wraps. Even if we have to step in as the legal process plays out, we will make sure the people of Michigan get the accountability they deserve."
- Jason Wentworth, speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives
Cavanagh’s attorney Todd Perkins says she has been vocal about her ongoing struggles with addiction. He says she is also seeking counseling.
“She can ask for mercy from the court, but she is seeking grace from us and it would be unfair, unchristian-like not to offer her that grace,” Perkins said,
7 Action News reached out to Democratic leader Donna Lawsinski, Cavanagh and other party leaders but did not hear back.
Cavanagh is due in a Livonia courthouse on April 21.