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Lea Stokes, Former Flagler Chamber Chairman, Arrested on 2nd Drunk Driving Charge

| February 4, 2013

Lea Stokes, participating in Flagler Beach's Bed Race two years ago. (© FlaglerLive)

Lea Stokes, participating in Flagler Beach’s Bed Race two years ago. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 5:07 p.m.

Lea Ann Stokes, a recent past chairman of the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce and a prominent member of the county’s business and civic community, was arrested on a drunk driving charge in Flagler Beach Sunday evening (Feb. 3), on her way to a Super Bowl party. Stokes, 53, was booked into the Flagler County jail and posted $500 bond.

Stokes at one point attempted to avoid the arrest when she asked a police officer to summon two Flagler Beach city officials “so they could come down and assist her in putting this behind her so she could go home,” according to the arrest report. The officer told Stokes that “that would not be possible.”

It is Stokes’s second DUI arrest in 11 years. She was charged with DUI in October 2002, and pleaded no contest. Her driver’s license was revoked for six months, she was placed on probation for six months, fined just under $600 and required to serve 50 community hours. The year before, she had been arrested on disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer charges. She entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the court.

Sunday’s arrest took place at North 14th Street and North Central Avenue in Flagler Beach at a little after 8 p.m. Stokes lives on North Central Avenue.

A Flagler Beach police officer had, moments earlier, spotted a 2012 Toyota Highlander heading north on A1A and trying to make a left turn on N. 14th. “The vehicle,” the report states, “turned early onto N. 14th and then went wide and across the street, almost striking a telephone pole on the northwest corner of the intersection.” The vehicle then slowed down drove “with its right side tires in the grass on the property located north of N. 14th St.”

After making the traffic stop, the officer reported detecting “the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from the driver’s window.” Stokes told the officer she was trying to get to a Super Bowl party on 8th street, but had gotten lost. She was reportedly confused when asked for her driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, on two occasions taking paperwork out of the glove box, going through it, putting it back into the glove box and saying she didn’t have it, even though the officer would tell her that the registration was visible among the paperwork. After warning that she could be cited for not providing the registration and proof of insurance, Stokes again took out the paperwork, and the officer pointed out the registration for her, at which point she handed it over.

The officer then administered four exercises commonly administered to suspects of drunk driving by the side of the road, such as the walk-and-turn and the one leg stand, none of which she was able to accomplish in line with each exercise’s requirement, according to the report. In several instances, the officer had to repeat instructions, which Stokes, apologizing, would misunderstand.

At 10:26 p.m., Stokes provided two breath-alcohol samples, one that read 0.162 percent, the second, 0.167 percent. The legal limit in Florida is 0.08 percent. “At .15 BAC you are 380 times more likely to be in a fatal crash than you are sober,” according to Lifeloc Technologies, maker of breathalizer tests.

Stokes chaired the Flagler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors two years ago. She is still one of the chamber’s five officers, and the only woman among them. Stokes, a forceful and energetic presence in government and business circles, who routinely advocates for Flagler Beach businesses and beyond. She chaired Flagler Beach’s Economic Development Task Force. She was especially instrumental in the creation of a county-wide economic summit two years ago that eventually led to the creation of the county’s economic development council.

Stokes is the founder and CEO of Preferred Management Services, a Flagler Beach management firm. Attempts to reach Stokes through her cell phone and at her office were not successful.

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30 Responses for “Lea Stokes, Former Flagler Chamber Chairman, Arrested on 2nd Drunk Driving Charge”

  1. blondee says:

    Twice the legal limit AND what I would call “attempted bribery” of the arresting officer?? I’d say she just lost her title of “prominent member” of the civic community.

    • Will says:

      Regarding “bribery” – I didn’t read that anything was offered to him or her.

      Lea Stokes has given much to the community over the years. Prominent people are not immune to illnesses or sadly to some addictions. I hope she’ll get good help quickly for she has many good years ahead.

      • Reality Check says:

        To all those who choose to defend her because of her position or your affiliation with her through the “Click” that is Flagler County leadership; just stop. She made a choice, whether she has a problem or not, it was her choice to drive and we are lucky no one was injured or killed. The fact that she is a prominent business leader means nothing at this point, she broke the law and she will be punished just like all the others. This should be a learning experience for her and others that think they may be above the law, an officer should do his duty as this one did. I hope if she needs help she seeks it out and follows through with it, but let the punishment fit the crime and throw the book at her for a second DUI offense.

  2. Whodat says:

    Disheartening but not the end of the world Ms. Stokes. You aren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last. Think of this as either the Officer saving your life or saving you from killing someone.

    There is plenty of help if you need it?

  3. Bill says:

    Alcohol is a DRUG. Addiction is a DEMON. Hopefully, she will get the help she needs.

  4. MADD says:

    Thank goodness there was not an accident claiming a life before she was taken off the road. If the first DUI didn’t get her attention, will the courts be more aggressive this time around?

  5. That's sad says:

    It seems the chamber is falling apart. When it rains it pours

    • Will says:

      Newsflash – the Chamber is strong and leadership evolves – as it does with any volunteer led organization. There’s no need for doom and gloom here, although the current story is difficult for many reasons.

  6. jennah says:

    Seems like someone has a problem of habitually disobeying the law. Old timer needs to spend some time in the pokey with the rest of the drunks. She’s had previous chances and has learned nothing from and changed her ways.

  7. downinthelab says:

    Party On, Garth!

  8. me says:

    Personally I just cant not understand why the news needs to put this women on blast and degrade and embaress her,yes a poor choice ,probably has an addiction problem but really is it anyones business,why dont you just rub salt on her wounds.Thank God she didnt hurt anyone but how about some prayers and offering of help Flagler live,shame on you .

    • FlaglerLive says:

      me, if politicians, chamber suits, members of the clergy or other people from classes that routinely relish getting their name in the paper as exemplary civic leaders get drunk, cross-dress, boff each other’s spouses or burn through reefers night after night in the privacy of their own nooks, as they undoubtedly and vigorously do, more power to them: it’s nobody’s business but their own. But drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime. And victims in the way aren’t always as inert as utility poles. The shame and hypocrisy is unquestionably not ours in this case, though a measure of regret for having to report this about someone otherwise worthy of respect and admiration entirely is.

      • kip durocher says:

        “………as they undoubtedly and vigorously do….”

        do you know something juicy that we the humble public don’t?

    • hello??????? says:

      Why not put her on blast to the community she claims to represent?? – she was drunk driving, broke the law and this was NOT her first time doing so. Why should we be concerned with her reputation being hurt when she clearly didn’t care to follow the law? It is so disgraceful that she thought she could use her position or the fact that she knew people in the city to help her out of her “situation”. Just because this officer followed the law and turned down her potential “connection” doesn’t mean this didn’t happen before and some police officer actually allowed her to make that call to a “connection” only to get her out of potential punishment. Since Ms. Stokes clearly hasn’t learned from her mistakes in the past why should we owe it to her to bow down gracefully from this one??

  9. confidential says:

    Thanks to some of these prominent community members, is why the clicks don’t loosen up to really help the local economy and to generate jobs. Just always same old devotion of the unfit to unfortunately represent us all, while the good old folks never make it to the popularity limelight in this county, simply because are not counted within the elite of the Who is/knows Who.

  10. tulip says:

    I wonder if it had been a non-prominent person if some people would’ve been just as “forgiving”. She wanted the police to contact a couple of officials to get this over with—she tried to get out of her dilema. I would call that looking for bribe of sorts and I’m glad the cops didn’t grant her request .Drunk drivers are an irresponsible menace on the road no matter what their station in life is. Just because someone “does good” for the community does NOT give them license to drink and drive.

    These leaders and officials who make laws should also be made to obey the laws and, if they violate them should be punished like the rest of us.

  11. Concerned says:

    I am wondering what Flagler Beach officials she wanted to help her? Glad to see the police chose to ignore her request.

  12. Deep South says:

    Sounds like she try to intimidate the police officer when she requested the 2 Flagler Beach City Officials. Isn’t did like Resisting an Arrest ? She was not allowing this arresting officer to perform his job.

  13. Brad says:

    Yeah you gotta love these politicians , they send people to long stints in jail for pot , but you can smoke a joint and drive , and you`ll actually be calmer driver safer , not get upset with idiots on cell phones , or people and they are many who ride their brakes and get you caught at every light in town, but the two biggest killers in the word , alcohol and tobacco are sold freely and used everyday , she has prolly driven drunk thousands of times , just got caught twice , and prolly won t get in as much trouble as me or anyone else would, our society is so screwed up , when do they ban alcohol and cigarets , the two most addictive drugs in the world and take the most lives????

  14. flaglerdave says:

    Judge not before you judge yourself ….
    Lea is a very good person whom made a bad mistake,,,,, Yes luckily nobody was hurt including herself .
    Everybody messes up sometimes, one does not live long enough to to make them all.
    It is the ones whom don’t learn from the mistakes WHOM are the ones that plague our society.

    • Nancy N. says:

      “It is the ones whom don’t learn from the mistakes WHOM are the ones that plague our society.”

      This is the THIRD time that Ms Stokes has been arrested because of misuse of alchohol – the SECOND time behind the wheel.

      How many chances does she get to “learn from her mistakes”? She’s not a good person who made a bad mistake. After three times, she’s obviously a good person with a bad problem. Big difference. Without help, these incidents will continue. And escalate.

      It’s people like you that are giving her behavior a pass, that are enabling what is obviously a serious problem on her part. She needs HELP not your excuses for her.

  15. Helpful Hints says:

    The story was almost informative; the icing but what about the cake. The important part is what is missing; who were the officials she wanted to get her out of a “jam”? Did they help her in 2002 with a small penalty? Where did she get the beverages? If from a friend, then she has no friend; if from a local bar/restaurant then they should be admonished for allowing her to get to the state she was in. (unless she is always in that state and they thought it was normal for her.) She is associated and has spoken for the City of Flagler Beach (appointed by the commissioners), The Chambers (city and county), and Rotary. All of these are supposed to be drug free.
    The residents are still waiting to hear the results of the drinking problems within the Flagler Beach Fire Department, which seem to be undercover.
    Hopefully, in the future the reporting will extend to the cake, not just the icing.

    • Concerned says:

      To helpful Hints, I am with you I am still waiting to see what is going on with the Flagler Beach Fire Department as well.

    • Nancy N. says:

      Ms Stokes did not get off with a “small penalty” in 2002. The sentence described in this article is a pretty standard one for a first offense simple DUI.

  16. Dudley Doright says:

    This is very simple. You drink and drive you are responsible for all of your actions regardless of whom you think are! What you do for the community is recognized but that does not deserve a pass or a little slap on the hand. Try justifying that to a family who has lost a love one because of a drunk driver. If you have a drinking problem then enter rehab and get the help you need. However, it would appear that some of the bleeding heart comments feel great sympathy on Lea’s plight. This is a second offense people and she was really drunk. Just remember, stupid is next to sympathy in the dictionary! Oh yes, lets not forget that the hosts of a pre Super Bowl party are also liabel for their guests drinking and driving!!!

  17. marlee says:

    My friend’s 15 yr old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
    Support MADD.

  18. Mike Tee says:

    On her way TO a Super Bowl party?? Good thing she didn’t make-would have really been twisted by the end!

  19. Dusty says:

    I’m pretty sure I know who the 2 Flagler Beach Officials were she wanted the officer to call because she is probably friends with them. First I’m glad to say that she wasn’t hurt or didn’t hurt someone else. 2nd DUI could mean real consequences for her. In reading all the comments I will offer my opinion. Flagler Dave says: One’s whom don’t learn from the mistakes are the ones that plague our society, obviously she hasn’t learned from her previous mistakes. Nancy N. – you’re right there is no excuse and people need to stop enabling her because again, not her first time. Reality Check, she deserves the same punishment as anyone else with a 2nd DUI whether she is “prominent” in the community or not. Will: yes she has done alot for the community along with alot of other people and the story is troubling and sad as you put it, but when is enough enough. She was twice the legal limit and could have killed herself or someone else and if that would have happened I’m sure the comments would be vastly different. We all should be glad that she was stopped when she was. Whatever the outcome of this is, we can only hope that it is her wake up call.

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