Montrose deputy DA charged in third DUI
A Montrose prosecutor is on paid administrative leave following his arrest Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol after he crashed his pickup truck into a powerpole.
The arrest was the prosecutor’s third for DUI in nearly 23 years, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
Deputy District Attorney John Mehlig, 60, was booked at the Montrose County Jail Sunday evening on suspicion of DUI and careless driving after Montrose police officers were called at 3:49 p.m. on a report of a traffic accident at the intersection of Sunnyside Road and Phillips Court, located in southwest Montrose.
Montrose Police Cmdr. Gene Lillard said responding officers arrived to find a Toyota Tundra lodged against a powerpole, leaving relatively minor damage to the truck and the powerpole. The truck’s right front tire had rolled up on the curb.
The driver, Mehlig, “was not very cooperative” and had to be physically removed from the driver’s seat by officers, Lillard said.
“He was asked several times to get out of the vehicle. He did not make any statements,” Lillard said.
Lillard said Mehlig wasn’t medically checked by EMS personnel because he didn’t appear to be injured.
Officers observed a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, he said.
When Mehlig was asked to perform roadside sobriety tests, Lillard said, “there was no response so officers deemed that as a refusal.”
“He refused any type of chemical test,” he added.
Records show Mehlig was released on Monday from the Montrose County Jail after posting bond.
Sherry McKenzie, spokeswoman for the Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office, said Mehlig was placed on paid administrative leave Monday pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
McKenzie said Mehlig is a county court prosecutor.
DUI prosecutions in Colorado courts are routinely handled at the county-court level.
Montrose District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller on Monday filed a motion calling for a special prosecutor in Mehlig’s case, while requesting the matter be handled by the office of Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger.
Hautzinger said Tuesday he expects to be handling the matter “from start to finish.”
A check of CBI arrest records shows Mehlig was charged with DUI stemming from an arrest Dec. 20, 1990, by the Colorado State Patrol in Craig. Mehlig was arrested again on suspicion of DUI by the Montrose Police Department on May 16, 1996.
The CBI records do not indicate a disposition for the two cases.