Councilwoman pleads guilty to DUI charge

SANDPOINT — City Councilwoman Jamie Brunner pleaded guilty Friday to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Brunner’s plea heads off a January jury trial in Bonner County Magistrate Court. She faces up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and a 150-day driver’s license suspension.

Brunner is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 4. She remains free on bail while her case is pending.

Brunner, 38, was arrested on the misdemeanor charge on U.S. Highway 95 at Bonner Mall Way in Ponderay on Nov. 14.

Following her arrest, a motorist contacted The Daily Bee and reported that she encountered Brunner driving dangerously in the vicinity of Silverwood Theme Park in Kootenai County and called 911, but there was no law enforcement response as Brunner drove north into Bonner County.

It remains unclear why Brunner was able to drive more than 30 miles to Ponderay without being intercepted.

The motorist who spotted her said she ultimately got in front of Brunner’s Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle and activated her hazard signals to alert oncoming motorists.

The Daily Bee submitted a request under the Idaho Public Records law for audio recordings of the 911 calls related to the case, but the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office denied the request because it said the matter remained under investigation.

Brunner, the Ponderay Police report said, failed field sobriety tests and her breath-alcohol content was measured at 0.20, more than twice the legal limit to drive of 0.08.

Brunner’s BAC was high enough to trigger an excessive DUI charging enhancement.

The enhancement was dropped in exchange for a plea of guilt, which dropped the offense down to a standard DUI, court records show.

Brunner was elected to the council in 2009 and her term ends at the end of this year. She opted not to seek re-election prior to her DUI arrest.

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