Monroe County road commissioner accused of driving drunk, fleeing crash scene

Stephen Pace faces drunken driving charge, has previous alcohol-related convictions

By Roger Weber - Reporter

MONROE, Mich. -

Stephen Pace was elected to the Monroe County Road Commission this past November. On Saturday, he got into trouble.

A neighbor had called police after hearing a crash. Police say Pace hit a tree, lost the front bumper on his vehicle but kept driving to his home a few blocks away.

"Between 1 or 2 in the morning I saw the flashing lights go by," said Neil Odenwald, who lives in the area.

Officers quickly found his damaged van, which since has been repaired, in his driveway. Pace allegedly told police he was the sole occupant of the van, but wasn't the driver.

Police say he later changed his story saying a woman was driving, but he wouldn't provide her name.

According to the police report, Pace told police he had four or five merlots in his home. They wanted to see the bottle. As he was looking through the refrigerator his mother entered the room and said she threw the bottle away two days ago.

Police say during sobriety tests Pace kept grabbing the handle of the van for balance. Secretary of State records show Pace has two alcohol-related driving convictions, in 2002 and 2006.

He wouldn't speak with Local 4. However, his father briefly did.

"There is more to it than what you already know, and I can't go beyond that," said his father, Mario Pace.

Police say Pace's blood alcohol level was .19, more than twice the legal limit.

He remains on the Monroe County Road Commission. He is free on a $5,000 bond but charges include drunken driving 3rd offense. That's a 5-year felony.

He also is charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

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