NorCo Solicitor Melissa Rudas has been charged with driving under the influence after a July 8 traffic stop in Bethlehem in which her blood alcohol was 0.08. That is the lowest level BAC under which a person can be presumed to be under the influence.
Rudas explained that she was on her way home after attending a high school graduation party for one of her daughter's friends. She was crossing Minsi Trail bridge from south side Bethlehem, but saw flashing lights up ahead. She made what may have been an illegal U-turn to avoid the area, and was pulled over by an officer. What had been ahead of her was a checkpoint, not an accident.
Rudas accepted complete responsibility. She apologized to her family, friends, clients and Executive Lamont McClure after last night's Council meeting. "I own this," she acknowledged. She said the officer who charged her was very professional.
She caused no accidents, nor was she speeding.
Executive Lamont McClure said he was “disappointed” by the charges, but added she is taking responsibility for her mistake. “She’s done a tremendous job as Solicitor and I won’t deprive the people of her expertise,” he said.
Personal observation: You can take this for what it's worth, but I've known Missy for over 30 years. Before she was a lawyer, I used to search real estate titles with her at the courthouse. After becoming a lawyer, she could easily have turned her nose up at me, but she remained friendly with me over the years. If she told me something, I could take it to the bank.
In the time I have known her, and at various functions, the only time I have ever seen her drink is during parties at her own home. I'm sure she did drink outside her home, but very little.
I am an alcoholic who was born with a 0.08 BAC. I am fortunate to have stopped drinking in 1985. Before that happened, I once passed out and rammed a few parked cars. I had to be taken to the hospital. The officer who helped me knew I had been drinking, but said nothing. On another occasion, I was with a fellow lawyer and we were both so drunk that I got lost driving. I had no idea where we were, which turned out to be the middle of a very foggy cornfield. A state trooper escorted us to our hotel and confiscated our keys. He was pretty pissed at us, but let us off the hook.
That last story might sound funny, but it would not be so funny if I had struck and killed a child. My behavior was completely reckless. I would much rather be charged with a 0.08 BAC than to hurt another person.
I would recommend to anyone, that if you want to go out and drink, have a good time. But have no more than one drink if you are driving. It is very easy to get to 0.08.
And Missy, I admire and respect you even more than I did before for taking the hit instead of playing games.
(Updated at 9:44pm)