Grand Traverse County Commissioner Facing DUI Charges?

There are many benefits to being in a position of authority, whether it is political or legal. Between the steady paycheck, the ability to rub shoulders with others in positions of power, and the local celebrity status that it confers, many people covet the lives of people in authority. But one of the downsides that rarely gets considered is the fact that when you make a mistake, it gets splashed across the tabloids for all the world to see. That seems to have been the case for Christine Maxbauer, the Grand Traverse County Commission Chairperson, who was recently arrested for drunk driving.


Traverse City Police were called to the area of 800 block of West Front, near Spruce Street for a minor car crash. The caller said that he and his family were sitting in a restaurant having lunch when someone drove by and sideswiped their vehicle. The vehicle that was struck was empty and no one was hurt in the collision.


Maxbauer, the driver of the vehicle that hit the parked car, sideswiped the vehicle outside the Slabtown Burgers restaurant in Traverse City, MI. The officer that responded to the scene said that he smelled alcohol on Maxbauer and that she seemed confused about where she was. In addition, he said that her eyes were bloodshot and she speech was slurred. When the officer asked her about alcohol, Maxbauer told him that she had not consumed any alcohol that day, but had taken half of an ambien pill.


The police officer administered a series of routine field sobriety tests. In the end, Maxbauer submitted to a breath alcohol test. According to the reports filed by the police officer who was present on the scene, Maxbauer BAC results were .16, which is two times Michigan’s legal limit of .08.


Maxbauer was arrested and transported to Munson for a blood test, and then on to the Grand Traverse County jail. According to Captain Jim Bussell, the police believe that this case may be “alcohol and possibly prescription drugs but we don’t know that yet.” He pointed out that they are waiting for the blood test results to come back before making a determination.

Maxbauer posted bail the next day and is currently free. According to County Administrator Tom Menzel, if this case results in charges being filed by the prosecutor’s office, it is likely that they will also bring in a special prosecutor to handle the case in order to maintain transparency. As of yet, no charges have been filed, although it is expected that Maxbauer will ultimately have to face drunk driving and/or drugged driving charges.

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