by Sue Ann Rybak
State Representative Cherelle Parker, who represents Pennsylvania’s 200th Legislative District, which includes sections of the Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill and Roxborough neighborhoods, was found guilty Jan. 16 in Philadelphia Municipal Court of driving under the influence, when she was stopped on April 30, 2011, for driving the wrong way on a one-way street in Germantown.
The ruling was made by Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge S. Gerald Corso, to whom the case was assigned at the request of the state Attorney General’s Office.
In November 2011, Senior Deputy Attorney General John J. Flannery Jr. requested that Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden, who earlier ruled that testimony from Parker’s arresting officers was not credible, recuse himself from the case after the media reported that Hayden and Parker were Facebook friends.
Corso sentenced Parker to three days in the county jail and suspension of her driver’s license for a year. In an article in the Philadelphia Daily News, Parker’s lawyer, Joseph Kelly, said Parker “maintains her innocence and plans to appeal.”
According to police reports, two police officers stopped Parker after observing her driving the wrong way on a one-way street. A Breathalyzer test determined that she had a blood alcohol level of .16. The legal limit for drivers in Pennsylvania is .08.
The Philadelphia Daily News also quoted Flannery as saying:
“’She [Parker] was driving the wrong way on Haines Street. She had glassy, bloodshot eyes. She had a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. She was swerving side-to-side as she was coming down the street. That in and of itself is enough to convict somebody of driving under the influence. Then you couple that with the Breathalyzer results of .16, which is double the legal limit. That’s about as guilty as you can possibly be.”