August 17, 2013

Franklin County legislator charged with impaired driving


---- — MALONE — Franklin County Legislator Guy “Tim” Smith faces a charge of driving with ability impaired by alcohol.

Smith, 71, a Democrat from Fort Covington who is running unopposed for re-election this fall, was pulled over at 6 p.m. Thursday by County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Cromp, who “saw the vehicle being driven erratically,” Undersheriff Patrick White said.

The deputy pulled the car over near 41 Robinson Circle just off Route 37 at the Malone/Westville town line and conducted a field-sobriety test with the assistance of Malone-based State Police Trooper James Gwinn, who did the initial blood-alcohol screening, he said.

White did not know the exact BAC reading but said Smith apparently did not exceed the 0.08 percent limit for a drunken-driving charge; he believed it registered between 0.05 percent and 0.08 percent.

Smith was ticketed for driving while his ability was impaired by alcohol and failure to stay in his driving lane then released to the custody of a third party.

He is to appear in Malone Town Court at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26.

Neither Smith nor County Manager Thomas Leitz returned calls for comment on Friday.

Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) declined to comment, saying only that he would “leave it up to Mr. Smith” if he wanted to make a statement.

White said eight deputies on the Sheriff’s Department staff are fully trained and have full police powers to make an arrest, “so if a deputy sees someone doing something illegal, they have every right to stop that person,” he said.

“We are a professional law-enforcement agency where our guys are told to ‘do your job,’ and you do your job; it doesn’t matter who it is,” he said.

“We would have done the same thing whether it was Tim Smith or Joe Q. Public. It doesn’t matter.”

Smith was town supervisor of Fort Covington for 18 years before being elected to the County Legislature in 2001, where he served as chairman for six consecutive years, 2006 to 2011.

He now serves as chairman of the legislature’s Public Works and Services Committee, which oversees the activities of the Buildings and Grounds Department, Highway Department, solid waste, weights and measures, library and museum activities.

Smith is also a member of the legislature’s Finance Committee and the Human Resources Committee.

Email Denise A.