UPDATE: Decatur City Commissioner arrested for driving under the influence

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt June 17, 2015
Kecia Cunningham's booking photo for her arrest on June 11, 2015.

Kecia Cunningham’s booking photo for her arrest on June 11, 2015.

Decatur Police arrested Decatur City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Kecia Cunningham on June 11 for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cunningham said she is “embarrassed” by the arrest and said she will not contest the charges. She told Decaturish the arrest occurred in the evening after she had finished having dinner. She was driving on East College Avenue when she was pulled over for failure to maintain her lane.

Records show she was booked into jail at 2:16 a.m. on June 11 and booked out at 5:20 p.m.

The commissioner said she was treated fairly by the arresting officer.

“He was doing his job, and I was thankful for that,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham added, “I accept responsibility and intend to accept the consequences. I anticipate this will be handled as any other matter, and I am embarrassed. It’s a personal matter that I’m embarrassed by.”

As Pro Tem, Cunningham presides over City Commission meetings when the city’s mayor is absent.

According to the report provided by Decatur Police, the officer pulled Cunningham over shortly after midnight on June 11.

The officer was travelling eastbound on East College near the intersection with Sams Crossing. He noticed a 2002 Lexus traveling south on Sams Crossing. The officer said the Lexus, “Made an improper right turn onto East College Avenue and failed to maintain its lane.”

“I observed the Lexus make a wide right turn, enter into the center lane of travel, straddling the dotted white line and jerk back into the curb lane headed westbound,” the officer wrote.

The officer made a U-turn and caught up with the Lexus to observe the behavior of the driver. He saw the Lexus begin to “drift heavily within its lane.” The Lexus moved over into the center lane without using a turn signal.

“While traveling the center lane, the Lexus crossed over the double solid yellow line, began straddling the yellow line with the center of the vehicle with both driver side tires in the opposite lane of travel,” the officer wrote. “After traveling several feet, the Lexus drifted back into its own lane of travel.”

The officer turned on his lights and the Lexus pulled into the rear parking lot behind Trackside Tavern. The Lexus is a convertible and its top was down during the stop, the officer noted. He said he immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol when he began talking to Cunningham. When the officer asked her why she didn’t maintain her lane, she explained that “Something happened near my feet.” Cunningham was not wearing any shoes at the time.

Cunningham told officers she was coming from her office on Johnson Ferry Road. The officer asked if she made any stops on the way home, and Cunningham said she’d been to the Capital City Cigar Club, 19 miles outside the Decatur City Limits. She told the officer she’d had a cigar and a glass of wine 45 minutes before the stop.

During the field sobriety test Cunningham was unsteady on her feet. She had trouble taking the walk and turn test, and at one point had to stop walking to regain her balance. Her blood alcohol level was .147. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Cunningham later admitted to the officer she had a vodka and cranberry in addition to a glass of wine. The officer found a bottle opener inside the Lexus and a wine cork inside the trunk.

Here is the full report provided by Decatur Police:


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

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  • Eric

    She messed up…badly. But the fact she takes full responsibility, and that she made the effort to mention how fairly she was treated, is a refreshing change in this “it’s not my fault” world.

    We all make mistakes, and the good ones pay the price, learn from them, and move forward. Ms. Cunningham seems like one of the good ones.

    • bob

      last time I checked 2:16 am is not “after dinner in the evening”. I always heard only bad things happen if you’re out after midnight. Is there more to this story?

      • Gators58

        Dan is calling me a racist,but he is the racist.

      • John Kane

        Bob: report says she was pulled over just after midnight, and a 45 minute drive from CCC means she called it a night and left for home before 12:00 a.m.

        She was booked at 2:16 a.m. Not defending her actions, just pointing that out.

        I am, however, impliedly defending people who are out and about after midnight. Many good and safe things happen to responsible adults who are out after midnight, so as for the saying “nothing good happens if you’re out after midnight,” I refute it thus: Avondale Estates Waffle House after a Monday night Braves game that goes into extra innings.

    • Jack Strom

      “One of the good ones”? LOL.

      You need to go to Decatur PC re-education camp to learn to speak “white guilt” more fluently.

      Because of your post, the Decatur Community Coalition probably just convened a secret meeting to to ask for $50,000 more from the city commission to have secret conversations about racial compassion.

      I too find it refreshing that she took responsibility. In light of the current environment, she could have gone a different route and tried to throw the police under the bus. I guess it could still happen if the DCC gets ahold of this. On the other hand, she could have killed someone and it she was way over the limit

      She should consider resiging.

      • Eric

        Mr. Strom, race wasn’t a consideration when I wrote my post, so your white guilt, DCC, and racial compassion comments make no sense. All I see is someone taking responsibility for their actions, a seeming rarity these days. In my book, that speaks well of a person, regardless of their color.

        • Bill Jones

          The phrase “one of the good ones” is a common phrase that older people use when talking about minorities to show they are not racist. I don’t think it was meant that you had racist intent, but that phrase is loaded when talking about a minority.

          • Eric

            Oh crap. Thank you for explaining, Mr. Jones. I had no idea it could be taken that way, and it was not my intention.

      • Will

        What a snarky comment. What does “white guilt” have to do with anything? I don’t see anything about racial in this issue, accept for your comment..

    • CW

      After reading the police report, I don’t feel like she is taking responsibility her actions. If she were, she would have resigned already. She seems to be taking the Lance Armstrong approach in that she is “embarrassed” that she was caught but not ashamed of the fact that she put countless lives at risk with her drunk & reckless driving over 14 miles!

  • Darren

    This is not someone I want involved in running my city.

    • atlfc

      Oh please save the high and mighty crap. She had a couple of drinks and made a mistake that every single adult who drinks has made. Except she got caught.

      • Darren

        Not really sure it’s as innocent and insignificant as you want to make it. She blew almost twice the legal limit, apparently couldn’t drive straight, and then lied to the officer that pulled her over. I personally find endangering the lives of those around you to be more than a little mistake and I don’t want people that can’t make simple judgment calls in their own lives making decisions that affect me in other ways.

      • Phog

        I disagree this is not being slightly over and caught due to another traffic violation such as speeding or failure to make a complete stop. If you think this behavior is common, I would avoid the roads in the evening. Fortunately, most responsible adults stop drinking before she did or find another way home besides getting behind the wheel of a car. I too am pleased she has accepted complete responsibility and thankful the police caught her before someone got hurt.

      • Decatur Res

        I didn’t realize that DUI’s have different degrees to them these days. Based on your comment, it seems there is a sliding scale on the seriousness of a DUI to you.
        For me, the facts are she blew just under twice the limit, drove a very long way in that state before being pulled over, lied to the police a few times once caught, and is a public figure. Yes, she made several mistakes (not just one based on the facts). A consequence, in my opinion, is that she should resign her position.
        I don’t care if she only drove one block home drunk, it is a serious crime that kills lots of people every year. There were many other options to avoid this situation.

        • CW

          Dear Judicial System, after she hands in her resignation, please revoke her drivers license for at least one year and make her commute by bicycle – specifically down E. College where she was driving drunk and arrested.

  • Kevin


  • Thisten

    “Records show she was booked into jail at 2:16 a.m. on June 11 and booked out at 5:20 p.m.”

    Just curious, but is it typical to spend over 15 hours in jail for misdemeanor traffic charges?

    • Eva Shaw

      The police were probably giving her time to sober up.

  • John

    By law, the Mayor Pro Tem of the Decatur City Commission is also the Chairman of the Decatur Parking Authority and Vice Chairman of the Decatur Redevelopment Agency.

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