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Thu, Feb. 27

Celebrity Supreme gets stopped, not in name of love<br>

If I ever screw up really bad and get caught driving really drunk, I really really hope the officer mistakes me for one of the Supremes.

That’s because when 58-year-old singer Diana Ross got nabbed with a .20 percent blood-alcohol level in Tucson, she not only escaped getting locked up, but the officer gave her a ride to where she was staying. The legal blood-alcohol limit for most people in Arizona is .08 percent. After that you’re driving under the influence. If you hit .15 percent, they call it extreme DUI.

Most people caught driving with a .20 BAC would find themselves in handcuffs and would have to call a taxi after getting booked at the jail. Many would even have to post a bond before being released.

But in all fairness, most people didn’t record Baby Love in 1964 either. Perhaps the normal rules don’t apply.

Of course, at a .20 BAC, Diana probably could not have remembered the lyrics, much less sing them. According to witnesses, Ross was driving south in the northbound lanes of a Tucson street. The police report indicated the officer contacted her in a Blockbuster video store parking lot, just after she parked in a space reserved for handicapped drivers.

The officer reported the singer cooperated with him, though she did claim she had not been drinking.

Officers videotaped Ross as she failed field sobriety tests. A Pima County Superior Court judge has blocked the release of the videotape and will conduct a hearing on how and why the tape was made in the first place.

Ross’ attorney claims the tape was made only because of his client’s celebrity status. Apparently he’s OK with the ride home, however.

Ross was cited and she will have to answer for the infraction — sort of. The Tucson Police Department claims Ross’ misdemeanor charges did not require that she be booked into jail. This is true. Police can cite and release those arrested on misdemeanor charges. And you can explain that to the officer should you place yourself in a similar situation.

DUI, for most people, is a humiliating and expensive crime to commit. And it should be — for everyone.

The apparent difference in treatment is what’s disturbing. If most of us were arrested, we would find out what the inside of the jail looks like. We most certainly would not get a free ride to our hotel. And unless we could afford the attorney, we could end up making a fool of ourselves on “reality” TV.

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