Democratic Michigan state Rep. Mary Cavanagh, 30, whose grandfather was a former mayor of Detroit, is facing a drunken-driving charge stemming from a February 25 incident in which police said she was swerving with two flat tires.
The Michigan outlet Gongwer News broke the story on April 1 – weeks after the alleged incident – which is how House Speaker James Wentworth (R-Farwell) first heard of the arrest, the Detroit Free Press reported. Wentworth has accused those who knew of “hoping it would go away unnoticed.”
The Democrat from Redford has been charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, the Free Press reported.
The incident occurred in the early morning of February 25 when an officer said he heard “the thumping of tires” near Merriman and Industrial Roads in Livonia, WDIV-TV reported. He encountered a Ford Escape with two flat tires on its driver’s side and began following the SUV that eventually traveled onto I-96, where the driver started swerving, authorities said.
A police report said the front tire soon completely detached from the rim, causing Cavanagh to exit to the highway shortly after 2:30 a.m., the Free Press noted. The officer then turned on his emergency lights and conducted a traffic stop, WDIV-TV said.
The outlet reported:
Cavanagh rifled through miscellaneous paperwork that didn’t include her driver’s license, the officer said. She said she was coming from the Livonia Democratic Party, but didn’t know where that had been, according to the police report.
Authorities said she continued to search her SUV for her license before going back to the paper she’d originally searched. The officer asked if she knew what had happened to her tires, and she said she did not, the police report states.
When asked again where she was traveling from, Cavanagh said Lansing, according to the officer.
The report noted that Cavanagh underwent field sobriety tests and breath tests to gauge her blood alcohol level, but the results of both were redacted from the report, WDIV-TV said. After taking a preliminary breath test at the scene, Cavanagh was placed under arrest, the Detroit News reported.
Her arraignment took place on March 24, and she had a pre-trial hearing set for Wednesday, Livonia city attorney Paul Bernier told the Detroit News.
The outlet reported:
The February arrest marked the second time Livonia police had arrested Cavanagh on allegations that she was driving under the influence, according to Michigan State Police’s ICHAT system.
Cavanagh pleaded guilty to an ordinance violation of operating while impaired after a May 2015 traffic stop in Livonia and received a year of probation, according to the ICHAT report.
Cavanagh’s grandfather, Jerome Cavanagh, served as Detroit’s mayor from 1962 to 1970, while her father, Phil Cavanagh, was a state representative from 2011 to 2015, the Free Press reported. Mary Cavanagh was elected in November 2020, and on February 2, 2022, she launched a committee for a state senate bid, the Detroit News reported.
Wentworth voiced his displeasure over learning of the arrest through the media.
“Nobody ever admitted to what happened, hoping it would go away unnoticed. And unfortunately, that means everyone is still trying to figure it out,” he said Monday, per the Free Press. “Thankfully, the Livonia Police were on alert and intervened before anything tragic happened.”
He added that he hopes the House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (Scio Township) “and the Democrat caucus didn’t know and try to keep it under wraps.”
“Even if we have to step in as the legal process plays out, we will make sure the people of Michigan get the accountability they deserve,” he continued.
Lasinski also commented on Cavanagh’s arrest but did not respond to Wentworth’s statement.
“Rep. Cavanagh is facing a serious charge,” Lasinski said per the Free Press. “Our priority is providing her with the support she needs to meet these challenges and stay healthy as the legal process proceeds.”