On January 31 just before 9:00 p.m., newly elected Franklin County Judge Monica Hawkins was pulled over. It was suspected that her driving was in some way impaired.
Hawkins told the officer she was coming from Columbus and was having trouble finding her way home.
“How ya doin?” asked Hawkins when the officer came to her window.
“What’s going on ma’am?” asked the female officer back.
“I’m trying to figure out how to get home,” answered Hawkins.
In the video you can hear the officer ask Hawkins if she had been drinking; to which she said, “No.”
The officer told dispatch she could smell the odor of alcohol in the car.
Hawkins was driving through Pickerington when she was pulled over.
A concerned driver reported her erratic driving and followed her with his hazard lights on so police could find them.
Once the officer located them, she pulled in behind Hawkins who had her car’s right turn signal on. When Hawkins failed to make the right hand turn at the intersection and nearly drove over the curb on the other side, the officer initiated the traffic stop.
Hawkins then overcorrected and drifted out of her lane into an empty left lane.
In her initial contact with Hawkins, the officer called for a medic and other officers arrived on the scene.
After several more minutes, many of the responding officers moved on to other things leaving the initial officer, a back-up officer, and Hawkins to complete a field sobriety test.
Hawkins was asked to count backward from 47 to 27, which she did without issue; but then she kept going, “14-13-12-11-20-29-twenty…” said Hawkins as the officer patiently waited for her to finish.
Next up was the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
“I need you to follow it with your eyes, okay?” asked the officer, to which Hawkins agreed to.
Hawkins had to be reminded not to move her head and just follow the light with her eyes a couple of times.
There was the walk and turn test and the one leg stand test. The video shows Hawkins struggling to maintain her balance in these tests with officers needing to catch her on multiple occasions.
Hawkins declined to participate in a breathalyzer test, and a warrant was secured to have her blood drawn and tested instead.
She was placed under arrest and taken to jail.
She faces a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while impaired and is expected to go before a judge on February 14th.
She was back hearing cases in the Domestic Relations Division of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, yesterday.
A call to her office for comment on this story was not returned. https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/dash-cam-video-shows-imbalance-in-judges-field-sobriety-test/1757366736