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ACC Commissioner Ovita Thornton Charged With Second DUI

Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Ovita Thornton was arrested Thursday on DUI charges for the second time in two months.

According to an ACC Police Department report, an officer responded to a call at about 2:30 p.m. about a crash at the Synovus bank where bystanders said a woman had passed out behind the wheel and struck a curb. The officer arrived and found Thornton in her car with the airbag deployed.

Thornton told the officer that she had not been drinking and was headed home from church, and the officer reported that he did not smell alcohol. She said she hit the curb because she didn’t see it. She declined to file a police report and said a family member would pick her up.

The officer left the scene but returned after receiving a call from his sergeant. He then saw Thornton trying to drive away and stopped her. During the second conversation, she admitted that she had an active DUI case, according to the police report. Thornton then failed a field sobriety test and initially “refused to be placed in handcuffs and taken to jail.” After speaking further with the officer, she asked to be taken to a hospital to have blood drawn. 

Thornton was cited for DUI-Drugs Less Safe and failure to yield while turning left. She was booked into jail at about 8:30 p.m. After a hearing in Magistrate Court, she was released at about 10:30 a.m. Friday on $3,000 bail.

Although Thornton told police she was not on any medication, her attorney, Doug Lenhardt, blamed a medical issue for her DUI arrests. “The two incidents were not due to drugs or alcohol impairment, but were caused by a medical condition about which I am not authorized to discuss,” Lenhardt told Classic City News.

In February, Thornton was arrested and charged with DUI after hitting a utility pole on Hancock Avenue. In that case, she refused a breath or blood test and resisted being put into a police car, according to police.