West Side alderwoman arrested on drunk driving charges

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Alderwoman Sharon Dixon (24th) denied being drunk and displaying combative behavior when she was arrested early Wednesday morning on the Far North Side.

Alderwoman Sharon Dixon (24th) denied being drunk and displaying combative behavior when she was arrested early Wednesday morning on the Far North Side. The 46-year-old Dixon demanded police let her through an area in the 6900 block of North Sheridan Road that was cordoned off by several marked squad cars because of a nearby fatal apartment fire, according to police. Police said the first-term alderwoman yelled at them to move their vehicles, pulled on a squad car’s door and demanded their badge numbers, at which time they smelled alcohol on Dixon’s breath. She failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer. Dixon was arrested and detained for nearly eight hours. She was charged with driving under the influence, obstruction of traffic and operating a vehicle without proof of insurance –– all Class A misdemeanors. The West Side alderwoman said she was on her way home from a friend’s house in north suburban Evanston when she encountered the blocked off area. “It didn’t look like the street was closed. It just escalated into something that should never have happened,” Dixon said Wednesday at a news conference insider her office. Dixon admitted to having a few glasses of wine but denied she was intoxicated. “Don’t you think at some point I would have to empty my bladder?” she said, apparently trying to prove that she was not drunk, referring to the length of time she spent at the police station. If found guilty of the DUI and no proof of insurance, Dixon’s charges would be upgraded to a felony, based on a new Illinois law that went into effect last June, said criminal defense attorney Kent Dean. “Most likely she can provide proof that the vehicle was insured during the time of the incident. If that’s the case and she doesn’t get the DUI charge dropped, it will stay a misdemeanor,” said Dean. Dean said Dixon would also have to install the Breathe Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device in her vehicle. As of Jan. 1, first-time offenders would have to submit to a breath test each time they attempted to start their vehicle. If the device registers their blood alcohol level to be above the legal limit to drive, .08, the vehicle will not start. Dixon is scheduled to appear in court March 9. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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