Board of Visitors member Laura Flippin ’92 was found guilty Tuesday of being drunk in public after District Court judge Colleen K. Killilea said that, in her estimation, Flippin had lied under oath about how much she drank prior to being arrested last September outside of the Green Leafe.
“In my mind, I do not believe her testimony today,” Killilea told Flippin’s lawyer, state senator Thomas Norment J.D. ’73, R-3, shortly before finding Flippin guilty. “I think she lied to the court.”
The surprising exchange between Killilea and Norment came after Flippin told the judge she had consumed just one gin and tonic upon arriving at the deli around 10:30 p.m on September 23, 2011. Earlier in Tuesday’s hearing, Norment’s objection stopped the arresting officer, Alfred Drozco, from testifying to what Flippin’s BAC reading was after a breathalyzer was administered that night.
“We had had a drink between us,” Flippin said of a fellow Board of Visitors member and herself, “but I didn’t feel as though I was intoxicated.”
“That’s your testimony under oath? You had one drink?” Killilea asked.
After Flippin said yes, Killilea said it was then appropriate for the BAC to be submitted. Drozco testified that Flippin’s BAC reading was .253, more than three times the legal limit to drive of .08.
Drozco said that when he first got a call about a woman who had fallen down in front of the Green Leafe, he “assumed it was a college student who’d had too much to drink.”
Instead, he arrived at 12:45 a.m. to find Flippin — a partner at the law firm DLA Piper who was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2010 — bloodied and straddling a chain line, car keys in hand. He said her speech was “extremely slurred” as she told him that she needed to get to the Williamsburg Lodge, which is about a mile from the Green Leafe.
Flippin, who also served as Special Assistant to the President George W. Bush, Clearance Counsel at the White House and Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Bush Administration, said she was wearing heels and had tripped on her way out of the deli. Despite testifying to consuming only one drink and not feeling intoxicated, she said her plan was to retrieve her cell phone from her car and call a cab.
After an ambulance treated her, Drozco administered the breathalyzer and took her to jail. The officer said that Flippin needed to be physically held up from falling multiple times during her processing, and that, at one point, she walked into a wall. After spending more than 12 hours in jail, Flippin said she went directly to Sentara Hospital for further treatment.
“I recall being in pain and bleeding,” she said.
According to the Virginia Gazette, the arrest wasn’t listed in daily reports the police give to the media back in September. Instead, the paper got the tip from a reader.
“Rest assured there was no attempt on the part of the Police Department to conceal any information,” Williamsburg Police chief Dave Sloggie told the Gazette last October
At the end of the hearing, Norment implored Killilea to consider how her ruling could affect Flippin more than the average person, given Flippin’s titles and positions.
“Not under these circumstances,” Killilea replied, referring to the fact that she thought Flippin had lied in her testimony.
Flippin was ordered to pay a $25 fine plus court costs but has appealed the ruling. She declined to comment.
Flat Hat Staff Writer Blake Hunt contributed to this report.