Traverse City, Michigan (WJMN) – The deputy sheriff of Houghton County was arrested near Traverse City for drunk driving after a truck crash registered with the sheriff’s office, a police report shows.
According to documents from the Grand Travers County Sheriff’s Office, it happened shortly before 2 a.m. March 3 at the Great Wolf Lodge along US-31, near Traverse City.
Security at the Great Wolf Lodge told lawmakers that a silver truck knocked down an SUV in the parking lot. Security said the crash was “optional” and believed the truck driver could be injured.
A security manager said he saw the silver truck drive into the parking lot, then quickly drive into the SUV before parking on the spot.
When authorities checked the truck number, they found it was registered with the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies then went into the room where the driver was believed to be and found him. He was later identified as Kevin Copa. Cope told Grand Travers MPs that he is a sheriff in Houghton County.
“It was obvious to me that he (Kopa) was very drunk,” the MP wrote in his report, adding that Kopa “swayed back and forth.”
The MP added that Copa confessed to driving back from a bar in Traverse City. Asked if he was drunk driving home, authorities said Copa replied, “I drank a couple of drinks,” and ranked himself five on a subjective drunkenness scale of one to 10.
He added that he drank more when he returned to his room and showed the deputies cans with alcohol. About half an hour had passed since the accident.
Deputies asked Cope if he would pass a preliminary breath test or try to conduct a field sobriety assessment, but he declined.
According to the report, Cope said something like, “If you want to take me to jail, just take me to jail.”
Cope was then arrested for surgery while intoxicated.
Once in the body of the deputy cruiser, according to deputies, Cope began to speak freely about the incident. He was informed of his rights to remain silent and read his rights to Miranda. He continued to talk and said that after returning to the sanatorium he drank with different people, went from room to room and drank about 12 drinks, deputies said.
At 2:53 a.m., about an hour after the accident, Copa agreed to take a breath test. He was then taken to Grand Travers County Jail.
At 3:38 a.m. and 3:41 p.m., Copa passed breath tests to show blood alcohol levels. Deputies said the results were 0.23 and 0.24 respectively.
The legal limit for driving in Michigan is 0.08.
On March 10, the Houghton County Sheriff’s Office announced that someone else had temporarily taken over as Cop’s sheriff. It says the incident outside of Grand Travers County requires further investigation and treatment in the county. The Houghton County Sheriff’s Office said it could not release more information because it is a personnel matter.