State Rep. Parker denies driving drunk

Posted: September 21, 2011

STATE REP. Cherelle Parker, appearing defiant and upset, testified in criminal court yesterday that she was not drunk and did not drive the wrong way down a one-way street when she was arrested in her district just after midnight April 30.

The Northwest Philadelphia Democrat also roundly rebutted the testimony of one of the two arresting officers, who testified that she'd told him that she drank two beers and two chocolate martinis before getting behind the wheel of her state-owned Jeep Cherokee.

"That is absolutely not true," snapped Parker, 39. "I had a chocolate martini, and that is how I responded to the gentleman."

Parker and the officers who arrested her, Israel Miranda and Stephanie Allen, testified during a motion hearing requested by defense attorney Joseph Kelly, who sought to have all evidence against Parker suppressed.

Kelly argued that the officers lacked probable cause to stop or arrest Parker, that they were mistaken that she had driven the wrong way on Haines Street in Germantown, that the Breathalyzer she was tested on was not working properly and that the officers' testimony lacked credibility.

Deputy State Attorney General John J. Flannery argued that there was sufficient probable cause for the case to go to trial because both officers testified that Parker had driven the wrong way, that her eyes were glassy, she smelled of alcohol, her speech was slowed, and that she was unsteady on her feet.

Flannery's office is handling the case at the request of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who wanted to avoid a conflict of interest because he and Parker are friends, Williams' spokeswoman said.

Municipal Judge Charles Hayden set Nov. 1 as the date to rule on Kelly's request to suppress evidence.

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