by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
ALPHARETTA, Ga. - An Alpharetta city councilman facing charges he was driving drunk with a child in his car is denying the charges and apologizing to the citizens he serves.
An arrest report obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik said a concerned witness called police to report Michael Cross was driving erratically along McFarland Parkway in Forysth County.
"He's badly failing to maintain lanes,” Andrew Alexander told dispatchers. He almost went the wrong way on the highway and he's got children in the backseat it looks like."
Alexander told Petchenik he followed Cross into Alpharetta and continued giving police his location because he was concerned for the child’s safety and for the safety of other drivers on the road.
“It was a very dangerous situation and I’m glad it was taken care of,” Alexander said.
When officers pulled Cross over, the report said they could smell alcohol coming from his SUV, and a 7-year-old child was not properly restrained in the back seat.
The report said Cross refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test and told officers they “had no reason to pull him over.”
On a dash cam video Petchenik obtained, Cross told officers he had “one beer” about three hours before the traffic stop.
The report said Cross had bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, and may have been trying to conceal it with a breath mint. The child and SUV were turned over to Cross’s wife, the report said.
Cross is facing DUI, DUI endangering life of a child, and safety belt restraints for a child charges.
Petchenik went to Cross’s Alpharetta law office to get his side of the story. A man who said he was representing Cross told Petchenik the councilman denies he was drunk or driving erratically.
“(He’s) certainly embarrassed this happened. As a representative of the city of Alpharetta, he’s sorry to the city’s citizens,” said Michael Penn. “He summarily contests that he was intoxicated at the time.”
Penn described Cross, a board member of Alpharetta's Public Safety Foundation, as a devout family man and community servant.
“Mr. Cross is a responsible father, someone who has been a respectable member of this community for a long time, given a lot to the community through the years,” said Penn. “He’s not somebody who would endanger himself, and certainly not his minor child.”
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