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Mayor Pleads No Contest To Impaired Driving

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LUDINGTON (WWJ/AP) - The mayor of a small, West Michigan city who was charged with drunken driving after his pickup rolled into a ravine has pleaded no contest in the case.

Scottville Mayor Joe Baxter entered the plea to a charge of impaired driving on Monday in 79th District Court in Ludington.

Baxter was ordered to pay $1,145 in fines and costs, to attend an alcohol highway safety program, not to consume any alcohol for the next year, and to attend the victims impact panel, the Ludington Daily News reported.

Baxter admitted to consuming alcohol the night before he crashed on Oct. 18. Two hours after the 8:30 a.m. crash, Baxter’s blood alcohol level was .08, according to Michigan State Police.

Defense lawyer David Glancy said in a statement that Baxter has accepted responsibility for the accident. He noted, however, that Baxter has a long medical history of chronic lung disorders that requires medications that may affect the results of blood-alcohol levels.

“Hopefully, everyone will take into consideration that this is Mr. Baxter’s only accident in 45 years, an event that he has learned from and an event that he will move on from and continue to dedicate his time to improving the county in which we live in. This matter should not destroy his accomplishments, or his dedicated service to the community, and hopefully it does not. This matter only proves that Mr. Baxter is human and we all make mistakes,” the statement read.

Baxter has been mayor of Scottville since 2011.

A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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