Detroit councilman Scott Benson receives jail sentence for DUI

Detroit city councilman Scott Benson wasn't in the mood to talk when he arrived in Southfield district court Thursday.

FOX 2: "Councilman, anything you're hoping will happen today?"

Benson: "We'll talk afterward."

And when he finally did say something, it was a prepared statement.

"I'd like to apologize to this court, the residents of Southfield and Detroit, my colleagues and family for my egregious behavior of June 2014," he read.

Benson was found passed out behind the wheel of his city-owned car on the evening of June 29, 2014. His behavior can be seen in a released police video documenting the arrest.

He was charged with super drunk driving and having an open bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon in the car. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of drunken driving in October.

During his traffic stop, Benson told the Southfield police he had only had one sip and was drinking vodka.  

On the 911 call a witness who saw Benson reported, "I don't know if there's something wrong with this guy in this car at Southfield and 8 Mile at the service drive. It's not moving and neither is the person inside."

On Thursday Judge Bill Richards reiterated the details of the incident to Benson.

"This was a serious offense," said Richards. "You were so intoxicated that you feel asleep at the wheel, and the police found you slumped and asleep behind the steering wheel with the engine running.

"You were found with an open bottle of whiskey in the car. Your alcohol level, as tested was a .24 percent, which is three times the legal limit for alcohol in your system when you're driving. 

"So it's no wonder that you were not even able to stay awake at the wheel."

Richards added that the incident was Benson's second alcohol-related driving offense. 

"That is a separate cause for concern," he said.

Richards did not give any details from the previous incident but did order Benson to pay $2,000 in fines and costs, continued substance abuse counseling, to meet with victims of drunk driving tragedies and two years of probation.

He also gave Benson a break and cut his recommended sentence in half. His period of probation starts with a seven-day jail sentence. 

Benson's sentence was half the time that court officials had recommended. He chose the date of March 13 to begin his sentence in Oakland County Jail.

Benson left court without thanking the judge, apologizing or speaking to FOX 2.

He did issue the following statement:

"I would like to apologize to the court, the residents of Southfield and Detroit, my colleagues and family for my egregious behavior of June 2014. 

"During the last seven months I have learned a lot about my strengths and shortcomings and have made the appropriate and necessary lifestyle changes to leverage and manage them, respectively. 

"While I remain remorseful and repentant of my egregious behavior in June 2014, I am determined to continue working to place this episode behind me so that I can continue to labor hard for my district and the citizens of Detroit without distraction.

"Again, I apologize to this court, the citizens of Detroit and Southfield, my constituents, colleagues, family and friends for the disruptions my personal actions have caused. Thank you for your prayers, support and forgiveness as I continue to work to move Detroit in a positive direction."

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