Special Prosecutor Appointed in Councilman Henry Davis Jr.’s OWI Case


The St. Joseph Country Prosecutor’s office today announced that a special prosecutor has been named in the OWI case for South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis Jr. The councilman appeared today before the Traffic & Misdemeanor Court. He is charged with two misdemeanors.

Davis was arrested early in the morning on July 19 going the wrong direction on the bypass. The arresting officer claims that Davis failed four separate sobriety tests.

“I asked Davis to exit the vehicle,” the officer said in an affidavit. “Davis did not immediately comply. He slumped forward, put his face in his hands and said, ‘I was drinking, but I’m not drunk’ and indicated that he has ‘M.S.’ I again asked him to step from the vehicle, and he sat for another minute before complying. After I asked a third time, Davis exited the vehicle.”

The officer reported that Davis failed the Breathalyzer test with a .14 alcohol level. Indiana state law requires drivers to register less than .08 grams of alcohol in order to pass a sobriety test. Anyone with .08 or higher can be charged with an OWI class C misdemeanor, which is the charge against Davis Jr. In addition, Davis Jr. is charged with operating a vehicle in a manner that endangers other people’s lives, a class A misdemeanor.

Today’s court hearing resulted in the approval of a special prosecutor to prosecute the charges against Davis. The LaPorte County Prosecutor, Robert Szilaygi, was appointed special prosecutor. He immediately designated LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Lake as the prosecutor overseeing the case. The next hearing is set for September 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Davis Jr. has taken a leave of absence from the Common Council. Davis’ absence has sparked a debate within the Common Council about what to do in similar circumstances since the council does not have specific rules outlining procedures for a member’s absence. The Common Council is considering adopting the leave policy for all city employees, and is also studying Fort Wayne’s policy.

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