DWI Trial Set in July for Miss U of A
Miss University of Arkansas Sarah Gafvert has a July trial date in Fayetteville District Court on suspicion of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, court officials said.
Gafvert pleaded not guilty in October in Fayetteville District Court to charges she drove drunk less than a month before claiming her crown.
Her trail was set to begin on Wednesday (April 3) but was rescheduled for July 17 at 9 a.m., officials said.
Gafvert, 21, was arrested Sept. 26 on suspicion of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, having an expired driver’s license, having an expired vehicle license and failure to use a turn signal, records show. She pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.
Gafvert was crowned Miss University of Arkansas on Oct. 21, less than a month after her Sept. 26 arrest.
Her lawyer, Bo Morton, said at the time Gafvert has no intention of relinquishing her Miss University of Arkansas crown.
Morton said he wants the case to go to trial, believing Gafvert to be innocent. She is a newly diagnosed diabetic whose blood sugar level was tested that morning at the jail and was determined to be abnormal, he said.
The lawyer said the blood sugar level could be at issue in how she performed in field sobriety and blood alcohol tests.
Pageant coordinators declared Gafvert eligible for competition following her DWI arrest, according to a statement by the organization.
The Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant released a statement saying Gafvert made pageant officials aware of her arrest and intent to fight the charges. The statement goes on to say Gafvert was deemed eligible to compete and that her pending legal issue has not been resolved.
Gafvert’s attorney came to her defense with a statement and a list of accomplishments, saying her public service outweighs her recent arrest.
“Sarah is a serious student who gives freely of her time to humanitarian causes,” Morton said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that this single incident has attracted so much attention, and her many accomplishments so little.”
Morton listed several of Gafvert’s achievements, including raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, her status as valedictorian in high school in Kansas and her 4.0 grade-point-average at the university last semester.
Morton submitted a letter to the court on Sept. 28, entering a not guilty plea on her behalf. Defendants are not required to appear at arraignments in city court.
Fayetteville police stopped Gafvert at 2:12 a.m. on Sept. 26 at East Rockwood Trail and North Sequoya Drive, according to a Fayetteville District Court preliminary report.
Several minutes earlier she had been driving north on North Mission Boulevard but failed to signal a turn onto East Rockwood Trail, the report states.
The arresting officer said Gafvert had bloodshot and watery eyes and slurred speech. Her car gave off an odor of “intoxicants,” the report states.
Gafvert performed “a battery” of field sobriety tests, indicating she was drunk, according to the report.
Gafvert had an expired driver’s license, and the Mercedes had an expired tag, the report states.
Gafvert then was booked into the Washington County Detention Center, and at 3:37 a.m. registered .13 on a blood-alcohol test, the report states. The legal alcohol limit while driving in Arkansas is .08 percent.
Gafvert was released from the detention center the same day on $1,200 bond, according to booking records from the center.