Fruitland Chief Not Guilty of DUI, DWI - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Fruitland Chief Not Guilty of DUI, DWI

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - Fruitland Police Chief Michael Phillips was found not guilty of DUI and DWI Monday in Somerset County Court stemming from an arrest back in late June.

Phillips left the courthouse Monday afternoon with his attorney John Phoebus being found guilty of one charge of following too closely, and not guilty of the alcohol related charges.

"Obviously the Chief and I are very satisfied with the decision of Judge Hayman today.  It was a very tough case he had a tough decision to make," Phoebus said.

Phillips' charges stem an arrest on Somerset Avenue in Princess Anne back in late June.  Deputy Redding of the Somerset County Sheriff's Office testified that prior to the traffic stop, Phillips' truck almost struck his cruiser on the road.  Redding also said in court that Phillips was swerving and also had the smell of alcohol on his breath.  Interactions between Redding and Phillips were caught on dash cam video that was played in court.  Redding also testified that Phillips was not immediately complying with commands and at one point felt threatened which forced him to draw his weapon.

Phoebus argued Phillips never posed any type of threat and police greatly overreacted.  Phillips could be seen on the video declining a field sobriety test and Phoebus said he was never seen stumbling or appearing intoxicated.

"By saying not guilty as opposed to saying he granted the motion to suppress, he indicated that there was not enough evidence to find that my client had been driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while impaired," said Phoebus.

Phillips was found guilty of following to close and faces a fine of less than $100.  Phoebus said it is up to the officials in the City of Fruitland to make the final ruling, but he and Phillips expect Phillips to get back to his role as the Chief of Police very soon. 
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