ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Alpharetta Councilman Michael Cross was arrested Feb. 23 and charged with DUI and endangering a child. Cross maintains he was not drunk or endangering the child.
A caller contacted Forsyth County 911 at 9:52 p.m. Saturday night, saying a driver was weaving on the roadway near McGinnis Ferry Road. An Alpharetta police officer found the suspect car and noticed a child in the back seat looking out of the back window and not strapped in a seat belt. The officer pulled over the car near the American Legion location on Wills Road. Alpharetta Councilman Michael Cross, 38, of Greenmont Circle, Alpharetta, was the driver and sole adult in the car. His 7-year-old son was the only other occupant.
The officer notes in his report he smelled the odor of alcohol coming from Cross. When asked how much he had to drink, Cross allegedly said he had one beer “a couple of hours ago.”
The officer asked Cross to perform sobriety tests and he refused. Cross also refused to submit to a test for alcohol on his breath.
Cross maintained at the time the officer did not have probable cause to pull him over.
Cross faces charges of failure to maintain lane, DUI, child endangerment and a child not wearing their seatbelt.
The child and SUV were turned over to Cross’ wife.
Michael Penn, an attorney for Cross, contends the councilman did nothing wrong and was not drunk.
"We believe the officer made a mistake," Penn said. "I am hopeful this will get resolved in [Cross'] favor."
Penn said the child was fully restrained in the back seat. Cross has four children and is a "responsible parent," Penn said.
The first-term council member was elected November 2011 and took office Jan. 1, 2012. He is an attorney by trade and is the council liaison to finance.
"Michael is a well-respected member of the community," Penn said.