Councilman's BAC nearly 3 times the limit during crash

by: Carl Willis Updated:


ATLANTA - A Jonesboro City Council member arrested for driving under the influence had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

It was also revealed that Councilman Joe Compton was arrested for DUI in the past. That information came out of his first court appearance Thursday.

The judge used the information to deny Compton's attorney's request that the councilman be released without paying a bond.

Compton's attorney, James Studdard, said the previous incident happened decades ago and is irrelevant to the Wednesday night accident that landed Compton in jail.

"Twenty five years is too remote a factor to consider when setting a bond," said Studdard.

Neighbor Deborah Glavin told Channel 2's Carl Willis she was standing outside of her home on Arnold Place in Jonesboro when the accident happened.

She said she saw Compton crash into her mailbox and then continue down the road to his house on the same street.

"I saw him come around, then he jumped the curb and hit the mailbox," Glavin said.

Glavin said she didn't realize the driver was an elected official.

She said her husband went to talk to Compton and offered to settle the matter without involving the law.

"He told him just sign a paper saying you did it and you'll take care of it and it'd be fine," she said. "(Compton) said he'd do it tomorrow. So, my husband came back and he said call the cops."

Glavin said Compton walked to her home before the police arrived. She said he was polite but appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

"He was unsteady and he pretty much reeked of it," she said. "He couldn't even sit. He sat by the mailbox and kept falling over."

Glavin said she finally figured out Compton was a public servant when Jonesboro police officers arrived.

"When the police first pulled up and they went 'Hey, Joe what's going on?' I went 'Oh no, he knows the police,'" she said.

Jonesboro police officers handed the case over to Clayton County police.

A Channel 2 Action News crew was there Wednesday night when Compton was taken into custody.

He's facing charges of DUI, failure to maintain his lane, and striking a fixed object -- hit and run.

Studdard said the council member is remorseful.

"He's certainly remorseful, and apologetic because he has a constituency that he knows will see all this, and it hurts him," said Studdard.

Studdard said he's known Compton for years and said he's an outstanding citizen who has made many contributions to the community.

Still, Glavin said he could have hurt or killed someone.

"Like I told him, this time it's a mailbox, next time it might not be," she said.

Compton's bond for his three charges amounted to $9,000. His attorney expected him to be able to make bond and leave jail soon.