By Michael R. Moser
A sitting Cumberland County commissioner's driving under the influence charge that drew regional media attention has been wiped from the record the same day the state dropped the case, according to court records.
Robert Brian Houston, 39, who goes by Brian, was arrested Jan. 21, 2012, during a traffic stop on West Ave. by Sheriff's Deputy Mac Judkins. He was charged with driving under the influence and refusing to take an intoximeter test, according to an arrest report.
A preliminary hearing was held Aug. 9 at which time Judkins testified that he clocked Houston's car traveling 54 mph in a 30 mph zone and conducted a traffic stop, which led to his arrest of Houston.
Houston participated in a field sobriety test, which led Judkins to take him into custody for a blood alcohol test, which Houston failed to submit to, resulting in his arrest on the two charges.
In a document filed by Assistant District Attorney Amanda Worley dated Jan. 30, the state petitions the court to drop the driving under the influence charge for the following reasons:
•"The state has reviewed the patrol car videotape on the above case and has made a determination that based on the tape alone, a conviction would be unlikely; and,
•The defendant refused to take a breath and/or blood alcohol test to determine the amount of alcohol in his system at the time of the alleged offense; and,
•Without any blood alcohol test results the state is at a disadvantage in continuing the prosecution of said defendant; and,
•In exchange for this nolle, the defendant has agreed to submit to a violation of the implied consent law and will lose his driving privileges for a period of one year; and,
•The state has discussed all these matters with the prosecuting officer and he is in agreement to this outcome."
Houston's license is revoked for 12 months, but he can through his attorney, Jimmy Smith, petition the court to have a restricted license that would allow him to drive to work and to drive to county commission and committee meetings.
Houston is in his first term sitting on the Cumberland County Commission, representing the first district. He previously served on the school board.
Last fall Houston was appointed to the county commission's debt management committee, emergency services committee, environmental committee and school and county education committee.