Magnolia man charged with 4th DUI after crash


MAGNOLIA — A suspected drunken driver was found hiding among trees about 50 yards from where his vehicle crashed into a marsh last Thursday, police said in papers.

Michael J. Lawley, 45, of Magnolia, was later charged with a fourth offense DUI after an alleged incident at 4:35 p.m. on Ponderosa Drive, according to a probable cause affidavit.

An investigating Delaware State Police trooper said “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” was detected on Mr. Lawley’s breath upon contact.

“His speech was extremely slurred, mumbled and low volume, and he was unable to complete sentences without losing focus, closing his eyes and falling asleep while speaking and standing,” documents said.

“He was unable to walk without assistance, and constantly swayed and stumbled heavily. His eyes were extremely glassy and his pupils were pinpoints.”

Earlier, a driver reported to police a vehicle in front going “all over the roadway, swerving across the center lines two times, then traveling off the roadway, failing to maintain his lane, again, before colliding into the marsh.” The vehicle went out of control on a curve, according to the witness in court documents.

Michael J. Lawley

Police said the crash caused over $500 in damage to the vehicle, as well as damage to the marshy area.

Mr. Lawley had his keys when located by police, the affidavit read.

“There was no one else around,” the trooper wrote.

Besides the felony DUI count, Mr. Lawley was charged with possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of a collision, driver’s license suspended/revoked, no insurance card, no possession of registration card, failure to report collision to police, improper lane change, no possession of driver’s license and failure to report a collision.

A computer check found Mr. Lawley had DUI convictions in 2005, 2010 and 2014, papers said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at

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