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Reese Witherspoon Arrest Becoming PR Nightmare

6:55 AM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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Atlanta, GA (WXIA) -- Actress Reese Witherspoon and her husband James Toth were arrested in Fulton County early Friday morning.

Witherspoon is "deeply embarrassed" about what she said to police officers during her arrest Friday morning in Atlanta.

The Oscar-winning actress released a statement late Sunday apologizing for her "disrespectful" behavior to police that began when her husband was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Witherspoon says she was worried about her husband and "clearly had one drink too many" but asserted her respect for law enforcement in the statement released by her Los Angeles-based spokeswoman, Meredith O'Sullivan Wasson.

It happened around 12:40 a.m. Friday on Peachtree Road. Toth was driving and was pulled over after swerving in and out of the lane.

Toth was arrested for DUI and Witherspoon was charged with obstructing an officer.

Here is the officer's report:

On April 19, 2013 at approximately 0040 hours, I was patrolling north on Peachtree Road. I observed a silver Ford Fusion fail to maintain its lane while it traveled in the left lane. 

The Fusion traveled on the white dashed line that separated the left and center lanes with its passenger's side. I followed behind the Fusion in the left lane. 

The Fusion traveled over the dashed line on the right side again.  As we negotiated a left curve, the Fusion traveled on top of the double yellow line that separated the northbound and southbound lanes with its driver's side tires. 

As we continued to travel northbound, the Fusion's left turn signal blinked on then off. The Fusion traveled on the double yellow line again. 

As we negotiated a sharp right curve the Fusion crossed into the center and straddled the solid white that separated the left and center lanes. The fusion crossed the double yellow line again with its driver's side tires.

I initiated a traffic stop. The Fusion pulled to the right into the driveway to the Walgreen's. The Fusion was partially in the northbound right lane of Peachtree Road. 

I approached the driver, Mr. James Joseph Toth, and told him that I needed to see his license. Mr. Toth handed me his license and I explained the reason for the stop. 

As I explained the reason for the stop, I observed that Mr. Toth's eye lids were droopy. Mr. Toth's eyes were bloodshot and watery.  I smelled the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Mr. Toth's breath. I asked Mr. Toth how much he had to drink. Mr. Toth stated a drink. 

When asked where he had his drinks, Mr. Toth looked at the passenger, Mrs. Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, and she began to answer. 

Mrs. Witherspoon stated that he had his drink at a restaurant. Mrs. Witherspoon stated that the drink was consumed two hours prior to the incident.

I asked Mr. Toth if he would perform field sobriety. Mr. Toth gave verbal consent. I had Mr. Toth back his car into the driveway of the Walgreens to get it out of the roadway. 

Mr. Toth was medically qualified for field sobriety.  Mr. Toth performed all field sobriety asked of him.

Just before Walk and Turn, Mr. Toth stated that he had a problem with his left leg.  I asked Mr. Toth if it would prevent him from continuing and he stated that it would not. 

I asked Mr. Toth if he wanted to continue with the tests. Mr. Toth stated that he did.  Before we began field sobriety, Mrs. Witherspoon got out of the vehicle. 

I told Mrs. Witherspoon to stay in the vehicle and she sat back in the vehicle.  I observed that Mr. Toth was chewing on something and asked if him if it was gum. 

Mr. Toth stated that it was a mint.

As I performed HGN on Mr. Toth, Mrs. Witherspoon got back out of the vehicle. I had to tell Mrs. Witherspoon several times to get back into the vehicle before she did so. I told Mrs. Witherspoon that I would arrest her the next time she got out of the vehicle. I finished HGN with Mr. Toth. 

I went and explained to Mrs. Witherspoon the reason why I wanted her to stay in the vehicle. The reason was for my safety. Mrs. Witherspoon stated, "Yes sir."

I went back to Mr. Toth and continued field sobriety. During the rest of field sobriety, I observed that Mr. Toth had a hard time listening to and following my directions. Mr. Toth wanted to finish the rest of the tests on the sidewalk next to the Walgreen's building.

After I had administered the PBT, Mrs. Witherspoon began to hang out the window and say that she did not believe that I was a real police officer. I told Mrs. Witherspoon to sit on her butt and be quiet.  I placed Mr. Toth under arrest for DUI. When asked his age, Mr. Toth stated that he was 42 years old. I had Mr. Toth sit on my push bumper. 

Mrs. Witherspoon got out of the vehicle and walked up to me and Mr. Toth. I asked, "What had I already told you?" Mrs. Witherspoon asked what was going on. I told Mrs. Witherspoon that Mr. Toth was under arrest. 

I told Mrs. Witherspoon to get back into the car. Mrs. Witherspoon stated that she was a "US Citizen" and that she was allowed to "stand on American ground." I put my hands on Mrs. Witherspoon's arms to arrest her.

Mrs. Witherspoon was resistant but I was able to put handcuffs on her without incident due to Mr. Toth calming her down. 

Mrs. Witherspoon asked, "Do you know my name?" I answered, "No, I don't need to know your name." I then added, "right now."

Mrs. Witherspoon stated, "You're about to find out who I am." I stated, "I am not worried about you ma'am." I stated, "I already told you how things work." I told Mrs. Witherspoon that she was obstructing my investigation of Mr. Toth. I placed Mrs. Witherspoon in the rear of my patrol car on the right side.

At approximately 0100 hours, I read Implied Consent Notice/Suspects Age 21 Or Over from the orange card dated 06/08 and requested breath. Mr. Toth gave a verbal "yea." I took Mrs. Witherspoon out of the right side and placed Mr. Toth in the right side of the rear of my patrol car. 

As I put Mrs. Witherspoon in the left side rear of my patrol car, she told me her name. Mrs. Witherspoon also stated, "You are going to be on national news." I advised Mrs. Witherspoon that was fine.

CPL Land # 570 met with me and transported Mrs. Witherspoon to Atlanta Pre-Trial Jail without incident. 

The vehicle was turned over to Futo's Wrecker Service. The backseat passenger was released to a taxi cab.

I transported Mr. Toth to the Atlanta Pre-Trial Jail. I set up the Intoxilyzer 5000 for the test. Mr. Toth gave two samples. 

Mr. Toth's lowest sample was 0.139 grams. Mr. Toth was turned over the jail staff without incident.


Late Sunday night, the Academy Award-winning actress released an apology through her Los Angeles-based spokeswoman, Meredith O'Sullivan Wasson: 

"Out of respect for the ongoing legal situation, I cannot comment on everything that is being reported right now. But I do want to say, I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said. It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. I have nothing but respect for the police and I'm very sorry for my behavior."

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