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Woman granted judicial release after four months

Thompson was serving time for her eighth OVI

Photo by Michele Newbanks Michelle Thompson was granted judicial release, but will remain in the Washington County Jail until her STAR evaluation.

A Marietta woman was granted judicial release after four months in prison for her eighth conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Michelle Thompson, 44, of 117 Dean St., Marietta, was sentenced in late August to 18 months in prison after an arrest Jan. 1 on Ohio 821. Prior to the arrest she had driven her 2010 Ford Escape off the right side of the roadway, striking a ditch and running up on the end of a guardrail.

This was her eighth conviction for OVI since 1994, with three in the past 10 years.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Randall Burnworth, who had sentenced her in August, said Thompson will be evaluated for the STAR Community Justice Center in Franklin Furnace.

“She will be kept in the county jail under her STAR evaluation,” he said, noting the judicial release with community control for three years.

According to police reports, on Jan. 1, a trooper from the Marietta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol detected a strong odor of alcohol and Thompson refused to take any field sobriety tests. The trooper performed a search of Thompson’s vehicle and located several empty containers of beer as well as a 12-pack of beer in a woman’s bag, lying on the rear seat. There were five cans missing from the 12-pack and the beer was still ice cold.

She was indicted on two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, both third-degree felonies. In July, Thompson pleaded guilty to one count of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a third-degree felony.

Thompson faced a minimum mandatory 60 days in prison, with a maximum of up to 36 months.

Thompson’s attorney, Beau Cross, said she has been on Soberlink for a substantial amount of time and was never sanctioned by the Marietta Municipal Court while on Soberlink.

Soberlink is an alcohol monitoring system that documents proof of sobriety by using a breathalyzer in real time.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Bean said she did not know when Thompson would be going into the STAR program, as it would depend on Thompson’s evaluation and when a bed would be available.

“If she’s not approved for STAR, I’m not sure what to do next,” Bean said. “But everyone’s pretty confident she’ll be eligible.”

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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