Sutton arrested for DUI

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 2004

A Linden businessman was arrested and charged with driving under the influence over the Labor Day holiday.

Goodloe Sutton, publisher of The Democrat-Reporter in Linden, was arrested Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 80 East after E-911 received a call from a concerned driver.

Jeff Manuel, public safety director and acting police chief, said someone called the 911 communication center worried about a truck that was weaving in and out of traffic lanes on U.S. 80.

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Officer Terrance Smith identified the truck and pulled Sutton over in the old Wal-Mart parking lot on U.S. 80 East.

According to Manuel, Sutton failed a field-sobriety test and refused to take a breath test, which would have measured his blood alcohol content.

After being booked at Demopolis Police headquarters, Sutton was transported to the Marengo County Detention Center in Linden. He was released between 5:30 and 6 a.m., according to jail administrator Kevin McKinney.

“We have a contract with the jail, and once we turn them over, the inmate becomes the county’s responsibility,” Manuel said.

Sutton’s nearly nine-hour stay in the Marengo County jail has been questioned because most DUI suspects are required to stay incarcerated for 24 hours if they refuse a breath test.

According to McKinney, that is not the case.

“There’s nothing mandatory,” McKinney said. “You hold a person here until you believe they are ready to be released.”

In this particular case, McKinney said Sutton was allowed to leave because he had been in jail long enough. However, McKinney did say that only two people employed by the jail can give sobriety tests, and neither was there early Sunday morning when Sutton was released.

Manuel also said there was no mandatory incarceration time for DUI suspects.

“If it were me, I would check the person and make sure he had a 0.00 blood alcohol content before releasing him,” Manuel said.

Both McKinney and Manuel said Sutton received no special treatment after his arrest. A date for Sutton to appear in municipal court in Demopolis has not been set.