Sen. Ingram charged with DUI after crash

Police photo
Sen. Deborah Ingram

State Sen. Deborah Ingram, D-Chittenden, says she is admitting fault for driving drunk and crashing her car in Williston last Thursday.

“I accept full responsibility for the consequences of my actions,” Ingram said in a prepared statement issued through her attorney on Friday, the day after her arrest.

Veteran defense lawyer Edward “Ted” Kenney said “it is very, very likely” Ingram will plead guilty at her arraignment on a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol. She is due in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington on Nov. 2.

A breath test about 90 minutes after the crash showed Ingram’s blood-alcohol level at 0.186 percent, more than twice the legal limit in Vermont, Williston police reported. Adult drivers are presumed to be under the influence of alcohol at 0.08 percent on Vermont highways.

Ingram, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, said the incident was a setback in her efforts to remain sober.

“I suffer from a disease for which I have been getting treatment through a 12-step program. I had a temporary setback last night and will continue to seek treatment to ensure that something like this never happens again,” Ingram said.

“I am grateful that no one was injured as a result of my irresponsible behavior,” wrote Ingram, 55, who lives on South Road in Williston.

Williston police said they were called about a possibly intoxicated driver who had crashed her 2016 Mercedes in a ditch off South Road Oct. 12 at about 8:10 p.m.

Officers Eric Shepard and William Bouffard found Ingram with the car and investigation showed she appeared to be under the influence, police said in a news release.
Ingram said she had been drinking vodka at her South Road home and decided to go to the grocery store, police said. She said that, when she decided to turn around, she went off the road.

She estimated she had been drinking two hours before the crash, which occurred about a quarter mile from her home.

The car had gone off the road for about 100 yards, over a culvert, up a hill and struck a post holding a mailbox at 1996 South Road with the driver’s side of the car, police said. When Ingram attempted to turn around at 1725 South Road, she drove off the road into a ditch, police said. The car nearly hit a utility pole during the incident, police said.

Ingram estimated she was driving at 20 miles per hour in the 35-mph zone, police said. The side airbags deployed.

She was checked by Williston Rescue at the scene, police said. They said she was handcuffed and taken to the Williston police station for DUI processing.

Ingram is in the middle of her first two-year term as a state senator representing all of Chittenden County, except for the towns of Colchester and Huntington. The Democrat serves on the Senate Education Committee and the Health and Welfare Committee.

“Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident, including Debbie,” Kenney said.

Kenney is a longtime friend of Ingram and they had served together on the Williston Selectboard. She served two terms and Kenney is still on the Selectboard.

Ingram, a native of Savannah, Ga., earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Stanford University and a master of divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

She has worked for the last 10 years as the executive director of Vermont Interfaith Action, a coalition of congregations throughout the state, according to the biography she filed with the state Legislature.

Ingram also has served as chair of the board of directors of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ.

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