Municipal judge charged with drunken driving

Herald staff

LAKEWOOD — A judge who hears drunken driving cases in this Tacoma suburb has been charged with drunken driving after being involved in a three-car accident.

Municipal Court Judge Carolyn A. Lake was charged in Pierce County District Court last week. State troopers said she was arrested after she rear-ended another car and registered a blood alcohol level exceeding .11 percent on two breath tests. The legal threshold is .08.

"As a longtime prosecutor, city attorney and judge, she is well aware of the responsibilities each of us has when we get behind the wheel of a car," her attorney, Michael Schwartz, said in a statement Friday. "She also regrets that she is in any way connected with any action that might be perceived to detract from the integrity of the City of Lakewood, the office of municipal judge, or her profession as an attorney."

Lake is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 4. She would not comment on the case.

In 1998, Lake was appointed to replace Municipal Court Judge Ralph H. Baldwin, who resigned after he admitted he bought beer for attorneys and jurors in a drunken driving case.

Documents filed in court gave the following account:

Lake, 42, was swerving in her car on I-5 on Sept. 9, then accelerated under an overpass and hit a car and pushed it into another vehicle, a witness told State Patrol investigators.

A trooper noted a strong odor of liquor and saw that her eyes were red and bloodshot. Lake said she had been drinking.

The trooper tested her eye movements and described them as very jerky. Lake refused to take additional sobriety tests.

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