RUSK, Texas (KETK) – A Cherokee County Commissioner who was arrested Friday night for driving while intoxicated and evading arrest acted aggressive with a trooper and refused a blood alcohol test, according to documents.
Cherokee County Precinct 2 Commissioner Steven Norton, 51, who has since apologized for the incident, was arrested after a deputy was dispatched in response to a reckless driver.
The call came after a Chic-fil-A employee said they were concerned about their customers’ safety.
“There was a message that popped up on our screen from one of our order takers and it was a customer concerned about one of our members in the drive-thru and had asked me to go check on the gentleman,” Micah Atkinson, manager of the Chic-Fil-A in Jacksonville, said. “He wasn’t being rude or loud. But one of my workers could smell [alcohol] on him and saw him take a sip. So, I was definitely concerned for him driving around.”
A deputy had been advised that a driver in a white truck had run people off the roadway, and witnesses said the truck almost struck several vehicles.
“I proceeded to make an investigative stop to check the welfare of the driver,” the deputy said. “I then turned on the sirens and lights of my fully marked patrol unit but the truck did not come to a stop.”
The deputy reported the truck then pulled into a residence where he stopped the driver when he got out. His only response was “what,” according to the deputy.
Norton was then placed under hand restraints and a state trooper arrived shortly after.
The trooper said upon arrival he noticed Norton had glassy bloodshot eyes, a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage on his breath when he spoke, poor balance and slurred speech.
“Norton seemed irritated and was starting to act aggressive in his attitude, asking if we knew who he was,” the trooper said.
According to an affidavit, Norton refused a blood alcohol test, and a mostly empty 1.75 liter bottle of Crown Royal Whiskey was in plain view. The trooper said as they walked to his patrol car, Norton called him an “a**hole.”
Norton again refused a blood alcohol test, according to the affidavit, and a warrant was the signed for his blood samples to be taken. The trooper said they took him to the hospital where they “passively held Norton’s wrists” while his blood sample was taken.
According to the affidavit, he then leaned forward quickly and made a noise. The trooper said, “this seemed like an attempt to scare the nurse or myself.”
According to the affidavit, the blood sample was sent to the crime lab for analysis and the results are pending.
Legal experts said his future as a County Commissioner could be at risk.
“There are two grounds where he can be removed from office. One is official misconduct. if he was in a county vehicle and supposedly in the course of some county business, then that’s obviously official misconduct. If he was intoxicated. But, as the government code points out, even if he’s not on the job or in the course of his duties, if he is intoxicated then there is literally a basis for removing the County official,” Randy Roberts with Roberts and Roberts Law Firm said.
The next Cherokee County Commissioner’s meeting will take place next Tuesday, Aug. 23.