Commissioner’s drunk driving trial ends in hung jury; new trial in April

February 27, 2015
Sebolt

Sebolt

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — Oceana County Commissioner Andrew Sebolt’s drunk driving case ended in a hung jury this week in 78th District Court, and a new trial will take place at the end of April.

Sebolt, 33, of 4124 E. Hazel Rd., Hart was arrested last June by the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office for operating while intoxicated.

The case is being prosecuted in Oceana County by Mason County Assistant Prosecutor Glen Jackson due to an apparent conflict of interest of the Oceana County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that we couldn’t convince everyone that my client is innocent,” said Sebolt’s attorney, Ryan Ramsayer. “But I am genuinely pleased that there are people out there who agree with us that Andrew Sebolt is not guilty.” The case could be resolved before the second trial, Ramsayer said. “There is always a possibility that we could work out an agreement.”

The six-member jury deliberated for three hours following three hours of evidence presentation, Ramsayer said. Misdemeanor trials have six people on the jury, and felony cases have 12-member juries.

Sebolt’s alleged blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of his arrest was .15, which is nearly twice the legal limit. Ramsayer said he is contesting the BAC reading.

It is a crime for a driver to have a BAC of .08 or higher if over age 21 or .02 or higher if under 21, according to the Michigan State Police. Michigan has a “Super Drunk” law with enhanced penalties for anyone caught driving with a BAC of .17 or higher.

Ramsayer is an associate counsel for Barone Defense Firm in Birmingham, Mich., which exclusively handles drunk driving defenses.

Sebolt defeated longtime county commissioner Larry VanSickle, who was chairman of the board, in the primary election last August. He defeated VanSickle again in the midterm November election after the former commissioner launched a write-in campaign. Sebolt represents District 4, which includes the townships of Colfax, Leavitt, Elbridge and Ferry.

Sebolt posted 10 percent of a $3,500 bond, his court file states.

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