Questions raised about preferential treatment after Bowers accident

Questions were raised Friday about preferential treatment, after a Thursday afternoon traffic incident involving Kathryn Bowers, which resulted in a DUI.  According to Bowers, she was driving to see her attorney when a truck hit the side mirror of her vehicle, and she pulled off on the side of the road.  Police did not give her a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test on the scene.

"She was transported from the scene in an ambulance," said Memphis Police spokesperson Sgt. Vince Higgins. "You can't do a breathalyzer when a person is incapacitated. You can't do a field sobriety when a person is incapacitated."

By phone, Bowers told Action News 5's Janice Broach she was not incapacitated, and she did not ask for an ambulance. Bowers was issued a misdemeanor citation for DUI and reckless driving.  Police investigators said it is not unusual to let a person go if it is clear the offense they got the citation for won't continue.  In this case, Bowers would not be driving. Vince Higgins says a relative drove Bowers home from The MED.

"She was treated like any other person would have been treated in the same circumstance," he said. "We were very keen about that. What I find strange is if we were to have taken her to jail, that would appear to be special treatment."

Bowers was taken by ambulance to The MED.  Questions arose about special treatment after the fire department ambulance driver backed up under an overhang, out of the view of television cameras, before taking Bowers into the hospital. Fire department officials would not comment on the incident because of federal laws protecting patients.

Bowers, whose resignation from the Tennessee State Senate was effective Friday, said she would like to get the DUI laws changed so that only people suspected of drinking would be issued a DUI.
She said she will fight the charges against her.