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Posted on Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:15 p.m.

Former speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives arrested for drunken driving in Saline

By Art Aisner

The former speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his vehicle became disabled near downtown Saline earlier this week, police reports said.

Craig DeRoche, 39, was arrested Tuesday night after officers suspected he was intoxicated. They were called to investigate reports of suspicious behavior and a possible crash.


Craig DeRoche

The Novi Republican served in the State Legislature from 2003 to 2009, including two years as house speaker before he was term limited out of office. He currently owns an insurance services company and said he is not seeking any public office.

Officers responded to calls about a man wearing a suit staggering and falling down in the snow near an auto shop in the 400 block of North Ann Arbor Street at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, reports said.

Officers quickly located him but said it became obvious he first tried to avoid them. One officer said as he approached, the man walked to a Dumpster in a nearby parking lot and dropped a duffle bag nearby on the ground. He then quickly walked away from the officers, nearly slipping to the ground several times.

Another officer noted the man walked into at least two businesses, including the Bead Alley at 401 N. Ann Arbor St., where an employee said he staggered into the store and immediately knocked over a large display case of sequins. The man then went to the rear of the store to look out a window and returned to the front upon seeing a patrol car, reports said.

The man walked out the main door without saying anything, the employee told police.

Officers eventually found him sitting next to an electrical transformer, concealed behind the building.

They identified him from his driver’s license and began their standard procedure for investigating possible drunken driving incidents, reports said. DeRoche’s eyes were bloodshot, and he smelled heavily of intoxicants, reports said.

DeRoche had difficulty standing, had very slurred speech and was unable to answer questions.

Officers said they were unable to perform sobriety tests due to his suspected high level of intoxication. DeRoche consented to blood tests and registered a blood alcohol content of .249 during a preliminary breathalyzer tests, reports said. The legal limit to be considered drunken driving is .08 or above.

An officer retrieved the duffle bag beside the Dumpster and found a pair of running shoes and an open vodka bottle inside.

Officers confirmed the white Cadillac with tire and side damage parked in a nearby driveway belonged to DeRoche.

There was a visible hole in the sidewall of one of the front tires, and the lug nuts of the wheel were removed, reports said.

DeRoche told officers he was at a business meeting in the city and got a flat tire on his way out of town.

He said he was at a local bar for about three hours for the business meeting but couldn’t remember which bar or how much had had to drink. He told officers he punctured the tire when he hit a curb, and he pulled into a driveway to make repairs.

When reached by phone at his Novi home this evening, DeRoche said he tried to use the jack to repair the tire, but part of the device bent.

DeRoche said it was difficult for him to comment without seeing the report. He emphasized he was not in the vehicle when the alcohol was found and that he neither would nor could leave in his vehicle.

“It’s embarrassing, but this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill drunken driving incident,” he said.

DeRoche added in a follow-up e-mail that he intends to take full responsibility for anything wrong he did that night.

"Just because I wasn't driving my car doesn't mean I don't fully accept responsibility for drinking more than I should have and hope to learn from my mistake and never put myself in that situation again," he wrote.

DeRoche was held in custody at the Saline Police Department and was released after he sobered up, police said. His car was towed, and the report does not say how he got home.

The report will be turned over to prosecutors for review when the results of the blood test are known, which could take a few weeks, officials said.

Art Aisner is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Sun, Feb 14, 2010 : 1:20 p.m.

I also question the story because it is rather unusual that, if it is legitimate as reported on, why hasn't it been picked up by the wire services or the two Detroit newspapers? It's certainly newsworthy. Perhaps some intrepid journalist should look into what's been reported and actually confirm the facts.


Sun, Feb 14, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

Do we actually know if he was arrested? It seems like perhaps he was detailed for public intoxication, but not arrested as the news report said the prosecutor will determine what charges to lay against Speaker DeRoche.

Chad Livengood

Sun, Feb 14, 2010 : 11:50 a.m.

This story has a few obvious holes in it. How does one get arrested for suspicion of drunk driving when they weren't found in the car by police and then are allowed to sober up and drive home? Did ex-Speaker DeRoche get lodged at either the Washtenaw County jail or the city of Saline's jail for the night? Who gets arrested for drunk driving in Saline (after registering a.249 BAC) and then is allowed to drive back to Novi? That's at least a 40-mile drive home... How much time passed between the time when police found DeRoche and when he was allowed to navigate the 40-mile trek back to Novi (presumably via the major highways of US-23, M-14, I-275, etc..)? Craig DeRoche is right. This isn't your "run-of-the-mill drunken driving incident."


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:42 p.m.

Actionjackson....Thanks for your comment. The mental image I'm seeing of a intoxicated person trying to pick up, sort, and organize millions of spilled sequins is terribly amusing!


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 9:41 p.m.

I agree that, if this is true, it is troubling. People make mistakes. Our politicians aren't above mistakes; we elect humans and not robots to office. The bottom line is that Speaker DeRoche may have made a mistake; it's a mistake that, unfortunately, thousands of people make each and every year. He seems to have acknowledged the seriousness of the incident. Let's wait until the facts come out and he's convicted before we put him in the stock on the village square.

Lynn Lumbard

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:41 p.m.

Just thank God this happened before he got on the expressway to Novi.

Lynn Lumbard

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:31 p.m.

He was arrested on the suspicion of drunk driving, luckily his vehicle became disabled. He blew.249, over THREE times the legal limit!! Medications may interact with alcohol, but they don't change what he blew, neither does the fact that he had an empty or full bottle of vodka in his bag, in his car or on his person.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 6:26 p.m.

I would also like to point out that I found it unusual there wasn't any mention of what was in his car. Speaker DeRoche resides in Novi, a substantial distance from Saline. One simply wouldn't drive from Novi to Saline if they were an alcoholic and wanted to get drunk -- well, I'd hope they wouldn't. Certainly his explanation of a business meetings seems plausible. I would be curious to know if police found anything to substantiate his claim. And the last time I checked, it wasn't illegal to have an empty bottle of alcohol in your car or on yourself unless it still contains alcohol. An empty bottle with no alcohol isn't illegal, though it could be potentially damaging. Did the bag with his running shoes contain the tire jack? There are simply too many questions left unanswered by this news report. I hope the reporter will continue to look into this... including filing any necessary Freedom of Information Act request. Bottom line, we shouldn't be convicting Speaker DeRoche yet. And I hope, for his sake, that if he does have a problem, he addresses it to avoid any difficulty for his family.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

Well, I think we should reserve judgment until we know all of the facts. It's easy to sit back and say whatever, but after all this is only a police report and the prosecutor has yet to lay any formal charges against Speaker DeRoche. I also think it's commendable that he stood up and acknowledged his mistake. Perhaps he was on medication and had a drink that interacted negatively with the drug. Perhaps he has a medical condition that made him appear more impaired than normal. If he did this, then shame on him. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt -- Republican or not. It's easy to convict someone based off a headline, but we really should give him the benefit of the doubt.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

He was just trying to help balance the state budget by drinking more alcohol than normal, so he could pay more liquor taxes.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

The only solution: Tar & Feathers.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

"At least he didn't do a Democrak Ted Kenndy on someone." Or a Utah State Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

Maybe, just maybe he got drunk after he hit one of Michigan's famous "pot holes'. You know one of those that our Democratic Governor has ignored for seven years! Please do not jump to conclusions we have some judge's still left, let them do their job. God Bless America!


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:32 a.m.

I like the way some posters are admitting that the Dems have no moral values

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

Clearly Mr. DeRoche drove his car between the bar and the driveway where he abandoned it. Clearly he attempted to evade the police and hide an open container of alcohol from his car. Clearly he flatted his tire on a curb on a public road. Clearly he was _wasted_. The prosecutor should have plenty of supporting evidence for a DUI charge.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

At least he didn't do a Democrak Ted Kenndy on someone.

The Grinch

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

For those of you who objected to my post and brought up John Edwards (or you could have brought up Jefferson, or Charlie Rangel, or Ted Kennedy or a whole host of other Democrats): The difference is that none of the above ran on being morally superior to their opponents, of living better lives, or of being better Christians. The point is not that Democrats misbehave. They do. The point is that holier than thou Republicans like DeRoche are a bunch of hypocrites who appeal to the lemming "values voters" while living lives wholly incongruent with the values they espouse.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:43 a.m.

I agree with 2cents and a2native...however... When a group of people run campaigns for decades with the central plank being "family values" or "we are more moral than the gay loving anti-life democrats" they do in fact have a responsibility to live up to that. When the democrats or greens start up a "moral majority", then they too will be open game for ridicule. I could be wrong, but I don't remember Edwards ever running on a Family Values platform, claiming gay marriage would ruin his marriage (that is his job!)or refusing to grant state/federal funds to drug addicts because they don't have "personal responsibility"..249? That is really, really, really drunk! He should be ashamed. Having written that, why was he arrested for drunk driving? Was he, or is that the reporting? He should have been arrested for public intoxication or drunk and disorderly.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

I don't think this guy will get out of a DUI ticket. He won't have a sufficient explanation for why is vehicle was there in the first place. Didn't someone just get busted for driving to their jail sentence intoxicated. They weren't in their car either. What a story--a story only someone drunk could believe...


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

At least he kept the vodka in the duffel bag. He didn't want to spill any while driving. They don't make those cup holders in a Cadillac big enough to hold those fifth's. This incident really scares me because I walk my dogs by the location of the incident all the time. He must have been a sight hiding behind the power transformer. It is not that big.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

they should at least make him go back and straighten out all the mixed up sequins.....

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:43 a.m.

"An officer retrieved the duffle bag beside the Dumpster and found a pair of running shoes and an open vodka bottle inside." Perhaps if Mr DeRoche had been utilizing the running shows instead of the vodka he wouldn't be in this mess.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

Hey Grinch, re; your comment about law and order family value republicans. Saints and sinners come in every category from far left to far right, John Edwards is a fine example. Don't categorize and discriminate. I just hope when another story like this is written. will state that the person in question is a democrat if indeed they are. Ann Arbor citizens and readers come in every flavor from left-center-right, and also saints and sinners. We are all on this planet together and in it together, we need to start acting like it regardless of your beliefs.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:11 a.m.

@ the Grinch: Saying that Mr. DeRoche's behavior represents Republican values is lowering yourself to their level. Plus it also puts Democrats like myself (and I'm assuming you) in the position of having our values compared to those of fellow Democrat John Edwards! Please accept that there are fools in both parties, stop the name calling, and focus your attention and energy on the work that needs to be done to get our political system back to where it serves the populace rather than calls it silly names.

The Grinch

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 12:07 a.m.

Stunshif: I've missed you!! And, as ususal, you missed the point. It's not that Democrats are pure as the driven snow. They're not. It's that they don't portray themselves as being pure as the dirven snow on "family values". Republican hypocrisy on the matter has become.... well.... predictable. Vitter. Gingrich. Sanford. Ensign. Limbaugh. Livingston. And the list could go on and on and on. All of these "family values" Republicans catting arround on their families and/or abusing drugs. DeRoche fits into the clup of hypocrites quite well, don't ya think?

The Grinch

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 11:16 p.m.

Gotta love those family values law-and-order Republicans!

Lynn Lumbard

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:49 p.m.

Boy, I hate it when I'm too drunk to walk and have to drive. I hope if I'm stopped, it is by a cop as understanding as Longfellow.

Bill Wilson

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:27 p.m.

The man has a problem. He may have successfully avoided a DUI ticket, but it sounds like he needs help. Goes to show you: we really are... only human.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:07 p.m.

He must have been driving, sounds like he was too drunk to walk!

Lynn Lumbard

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

"This wasnt a run-of-the-mill drunken driving incident, he said". Why? Because it was only 5:30? "DeRoche was allowed to leave after sobering up, police said." I hope this was the next morning.

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

That's a "level three" incident as we used to say in the military, which would result in a week or two "evaluation" at the Long Beach Naval Hospital. It is said that only the drunk can decide whether or not they are an alcoholic, but the vodka bottle in the duffel bag aught to be enough to convince the rest of us.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

it sounds like he was drunk walking. the person that was driving the car was allready gone when the police got