More MS news articles for Dec 2001

Oldham teacher sues police officer

Says disease, not drugs, caused sobriety test failure

Published Saturday, December 8, 2001, in the Herald-Leader

LOUISVILLE, -- An Oldham County teacher with multiple sclerosis has sued a police officer, claiming that she was wrongfully arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs.

In her suit, Amy Shackleford says that Oldham County police officer Aaron Gutermuth forced her to submit to field-sobriety tests after she explained that her medical condition wouldn't allow her to pass the tests.

Schackleford, 30, of Pewee Valley, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and a jury trial in the suit filed last month. She is a teacher at Crestwood Elementary.

Gutermuth stopped Shackleford about 11:15 p.m. July 20, after he saw her cross the center line on Ky. 22 in Crestwood at least three times, according to the arrest citation. Her pupils were dilated and didn't respond to light, she was unsteady on her feet, and she failed field-sobriety tests, he wrote.

Shackleford was arrested and taken first to Tri-County Baptist Hospital in La Grange, where blood samples were taken, and then to the Oldham County Jail. She later was released on her own recognizance.

Although the original charges were later dropped, she was charged Nov. 11 with careless driving and is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 17. in Oldham District Court.

She said that Gutermuth ignored her when she told him at least twice that she has multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system that scars brain and nerve tissue and can impair motor skills.

Gutermuth is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Officer Kevin Collett, a police department spokesman, wouldn't comment on the suit.

Shackleford said she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years ago and suffers from fatigue and has trouble keeping her balance, among other symptoms.

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