Traverse City mayor arrested for drunk driving

Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes was arrested for drunk driving in Traverse City Wednesday night.

Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes was arrested for drunk driving in Traverse City Wednesday night.

According to the Traverse City Police Department, an officer saw a car traveling east on East Eighth Street near Woodmere Avenue when it crossed over the center line and proceeded to drive in the designated bike lane.

The officer stopped the car near the intersection of East Eighth Street and Rose Street.

According to the probable cause warrant, Estes "smelled of intoxicants and had watery, glassy eyes." The officer reported that Estes admitted to having one beer at his house earlier.

Estes reportedly failed several in-field sobriety tests and eventually blew a .120 BAC and was arrested for operating while intoxicated, first offense.

Estes, 63, was held at the Grand Traverse County Jail.

He was released on bond early Thursday morning. An arraignment has not been scheduled yet.

Estes is up for reelection in November. City Commissioner, Jim Carruthers, says that while the situation is unfortunate, it still should not impact the way Estes does his job as mayor.

"I don't think it's any reason for people to be concerned about his ability to be our mayor in general because many people have problems, many people are stressed out," said Carruthers.

Traverse City Manager, Jered Ottenwess, declined to go on camera, but said that he received an email from Mayor Estes early Thursday morning where he apologized for the incident and said that he would not be making any other comments about it at the time.

When asked whether or not Estes' arrest would have an impact on his position, Ottenwess said that there is no specific policy the city has for removal in this kind of a situation.

"It's a personal matter through the mayor that he will have to deal with," said Ottenwess.

"I think this is a very unfortunate situation for the Mayor and for the city of Traverse City," said Carruthers. "But I'm hoping it can be sort of couched as a teachable moment and that alcohol abuse is a problem in our community and it stretches across all people."

Estes released the following statement about his arrest:

"I deeply regret my actions that led to my drunk driving arrest on Oct. 23. My actions are an embarrassment to my family and the office of mayor of Traverse City. I apologize to all and accept all the consequences of my actions. For my poor behavior I am taking the appropriate corrections and working with my friends and family to improve myself as a human being. To my surprise my wife, family, friends and individuals I have never met have all encouraged me to continue in my role as mayor, however, that decision is still pending. Again, I apologize to all and realize forgiveness must be earned and takes a great deal of time."

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