A District Court judge suspended former Town Councilman Lee Storrow’s 60-day jail sentence Tuesday, instead giving him probation and community service for driving while impaired.
Storrow, 26, of 208 Barclay Road in Chapel Hill, also turned in his driver’s license for a year.
Storrow was charged Aug. 26 and pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. He registered a blood alcohol level of 0.16 on a Breathalyzer test, police reported, twice the state's legal limit for impaired driving.
District Court Judge Jay Bryan ordered Storrow to serve 18 months of supervised probation, complete 24 hours of community service by March 8 and pay $390 in court costs and fines.
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Bryan also told Storrow to watch a video about drinking and driving, and to attend a local session of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim impact panel in which victims and families talk about the effects that drunk-driving crashes have had on their lives.
Prosecutors dismissed a second misdemeanor charge against Storrow for speeding 63 mph in a 35 mph zone.
Attorney Bill Massengale said Storrow has completed more than 30 hours of alcohol assessment work in the UNC Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program. Storrow said he has not had alcohol since his arrest and plans to continue attending the program.
“I do think I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of months. I think my ASAP class has been a part of that,” Storrow said. “I’m really thankful for my friends and family who’ve been supportive, who’ve been very kind in their support and some who also had some difficult conversations with me, which I needed to have given the circumstances.”
Storrow was joined by several friends at the hearing, including Carrboro Alderman Damon Seils and former Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt.
Both Storrow, a first-term councilman, and Kleinschmidt lost their Nov. 3 re-election bids. It’s hard to say what role the DWI played in Storrow’s loss, Bryan said, but he thanked him for taking prompt and public responsibility for his DWI charge.
“I hope you will continue when you are ready to serve in whatever capacity you find to be stimulating and worthwhile, because I think you have that experience to be able to continue to do that,” Bryan said.
He also thanked Storrow’s supporters.
“It is sometimes hard for friends to speak, as I think you said, (and have) the hard conversations about another person’s needs or frailties of such nature,” Bryan said. “I appreciate that they stepped forward, and as friends, they spoke to you about that and are supporting you in this.”