Driver's call led to Lake Angelus' police chief's DUI arrest

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Keego Harbor — A call from a concerned motorist who saw a weaving pickup truck led to a traffic stop of a suspected drunken driver who turned out to be the police chief of Lake Angelus, according to a Keego Harbor police report. 

According to the report, obtained by The Detroit News under the Freedom of Information Act, Michael Farley was driving his Ford F-150  on Cass Lake Road near Orchard Lake Road shortly before 11 p.m. Nov. 30 when he was pulled over by a Keego Harbor patrolman.

Lake Angelus Police Chief Michael Farley.

The traffic stop occurred after a citizen called police to report a pickup “weaving within its lane of travel,” the report states.

When the truck was pulled over in a store parking lot, the officer said he noted “a very strong odor of intoxicants coming from the driver” and that Farley was “slurring his speech.”

The incident report indicates Farley was cooperative but appeared unsteady during a subsequent field sobriety test. The report says he was unable to count backward and nearly fell over twice while asked to stand on one leg.

The Lake Angelus police chief told the officer the test was unfair because the parking lot was not level, and that he had consumed four drinks.  

Farley, 68, of Waterford Township volunteered for and was administered a breath test and later had blood drawn that indicated his blood-alcohol level exceeded the legal limit to be driving a vehicle, according to the report.

Farley’s vehicle contained a "case loaded" semi-automatic .380 caliber Ruger, a knife and a $100 bill, the report states. It was impounded, and he was taken into custody, booked and held in the Oakland County Jail for a few hours before he was released, according to his attorney, Jose Fanego.

Farley was formally charged Monday in Bloomfield Hills 48th District Court with operating while intoxicated and failure to use his seat belt, according to court records.

Fanego said he entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of Farley, who was released on a personal bond.

“Mr. Farley is a 40-year police veteran with an excellent history and no drinking and driving violations,” said Fanego. “His city council and mayor have given him a vote of confidence and he remains on the job as chief of police.”

Lake Angelus Mayor Dennis Mitchell said earlier this week that Farley was off-duty, not in uniform or on city business, and was driving his own vehicle when he was pulled over.

"It is my intention to take full responsibility for my actions," Farley said in a statement this week. "I have dedicated my entire career to enforcing the law. I know that I am not above the law. That said, I am also not beneath the law. There is in our system of law a process that I must go through in order to receive due process under the law.".

Farley is scheduled to return to court Jan. 7, Fanego said. OWI is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum 93-day jail sentence on conviction. The seat belt offense is a civil infraction, punishable by a fine.

“He has the presumption of innocence and going forward I would hope that everyone recognizes and remembers that,”Fanego said.

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