Branch County Man Gets Prison for 11th DUI

39-year-old Michael Mead is headed back to prison. But given the nature of  his record, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. Least of all Mead, who was heard to say “I’ve been bad, I’m going back to jail,” by the arresting officer who approached his car after pulling him over last January.

At the time, multiple other concerned drivers had called 911 to report Mead’s erratic driving. After pulling him over, officers noted that Mead smelled strongly of alcohol and had an open container of alcohol in the car with him. His BAC levels after arrest were 0.23, which is almost three times the legal limit for Michigan drivers.

According to the Branch County Prosecutor, Ralph Kimble, Mead was on probation at the time of his arrest as a result of a prior drunken driving conviction in Allegan County. As a result, he will serve time not just for the DUI, but also for violating probation.

When addressing Branch County Circuit Court Judge Bill O’Grady at his sentencing hearing, Mead pointed out that he needed to figure out what his triggers were. He pointed out that he had struggled with alcohol related convictions for 20 years. By discovering what makes him drink, Mead hoped, he could learn to avoid them.

But the Judge disagreed. “You don’t need a trigger,” he said to Mead, “some people simply drink to get drunk.” And then he sentenced Mead to prison. This is Mead’s 11th DUI conviction and his fifth prison sentence.

Mead has served prison time for DUI arrests in Kalamazoo, Van Buren, and Allegan counties. After his last arrest, Mead was hospitalized at the Community Health Center of Branch County located in Coldwater for an alleged suicide attempt.

Branch County Circuit Judge O’Grady sentenced Mead to prison for 39 months to five years, which is the suggested time period for an 11th drunk driving conviction under Michigan law. He is also required to serve an additional five years for the probation violation.

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