Police: Smith was stalling; city employee passenger in car

SHERIDAN — Police records recently obtained by The Sheridan Press have shed more light on the April 26 drunk driving arrest of Sheridan City Councilor Shelleen Smith.

Arresting officers claimed Smith attempted to delay taking a field sobriety test after being pulled over at 12:30 a.m. near the intersection of Absaraka Street and Big Horn Avenue.

“It was obvious to me that she was stalling and trying to use up time by not performing the tests in a time or manner that, in my years of experience, a sober person would,” Officer Brian Phillips wrote in an incident report.

Smith was initially pulled over by Officer Shuan Gerleman after being observed weaving in her lane while heading south on Main Street.

Gerleman followed her vehicle onto Big Horn Avenue where she drifted into the center of the road while driving 38 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone.

When pulled over and asked to explain her driving, Smith said she had received a text from her daughter but denied having texted back.

She was accompanied in the car by Sheridan Public Works Director Nic Bateson.

 

The Sheridan Press learned through a source familiar with the case that Bateson called Sheridan Police Chief Rich Adriaens following the traffic stop, and while Adriaens acknowledged the call, he denied that Bateson asked for any special treatment.

“Nic did call me that night, and he was entirely professional,” Adriaens said. “He never asked for any favoritism. He just asked me what was going to happen.”

Bateson was later driven home by one of the responding officers. Attempts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

In the days following her arrest, Smith initially entered a written not guilty plea in circuit court. At a hearing last week, she changed her plea to guilty.

She was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $390 in fines and legal fees.

According to court documents, she refused to take a portable breath test on scene, but a subsequent test revealed her blood alcohol content to be .12. The legal limit to drive is .08.

 

About

Paolo Cisneros

Paolo Cisneros joined The Sheridan Press staff in August 2012. He covers business, energy and public safety. A Chicago native, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011.

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