Image: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough responded to his DWI conviction for driving while under the influence of Ambien and amphetamines. Keough signed and affixed his thumbprint to his Judgment of Conviction, dated February 24, 2021, shown above.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, February 26, 2021 – Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough responded to his conviction for Driving While Intoxicated while under the influence of Ambien, a downer, and amphetamines, a form of speed, ultimately leading to multiple collisions when he was driving to a meeting on September 10, 2020, in The Woodlands. Keough collided with one car on Grogans Mill Road, swerved rapidly to get away from the scene of that collision, and then collided with a parked Precinct 2 Constable’s vehicle on the side of the road. The Deputy Constable, the driver of the first vehicle with which Keough collided, and Keough all want to the hospital for treatment.
On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, after previously vowing he would fight and beat the criminal charge of DWI, Keough pled guilty. In court papers, Keough stated in writing, “I am criminally responsible for the offense charged.” Keough agreed not to have his gun, which was taken from the collision scene because Keough did not possess it in accordance with Texas statutes, returned to him.
Keough was sentenced to 3 days’ incarceration in the Montgomery County Jail, although he received three days’ credit for time served.
Keough was also sentenced to a 90-day driver’s license suspension, although the Montgomery County government provides Keough with a free driver and County government car already, so that he may go to and from his office from his home in The Woodlands and to other meetings. The taxpayers bear all of those expenses.
The Court also assessed $5,100 in fines against Keough, in the form of a $2,000 general fine, a $3,000 DWI Traffic fine, and an additional fine of $100. In addition to paying the fines, the Court ordered Keough to pay $345 in Court Costs.
Keough began his response, “I’m Mark Keough and I’m your Montgomery County Judge. As most of you probably know, last September I was involved in car accident for which I ultimately was charged with a misdemeanor DWI.” Keough did not mention the details of the accident, which occurred after Keough collided with one vehicle, fled therefrom, and then collided with the parked police vehicle.
Keough continued, “There was not any alcohol involved in this at all, but rather what they found in my blood was a doctor-prescribed sleep aide called Ambien. What I did not understand at the time that this could have lingering effects.” Keough did not mention that he was also found to have amphetamines, an upper, in his blood. He continued, “Sleep aides in general can have lingering effects the next day. But the fact of the matter is what I did, how I got it, or what my motivation was is not a defense to prosecution.”
Keough said he respected law enforcement officials and explained, “I got up. I went to work just as usual. But I didn’t expect it to end this way but sure enough it resulted in this DWI. I’ve labored over this. I’ve given this a lot of thought. And, you know, I take responsibility for that. The fact of the matter is they did find it in my blood stream.”
The County Judge admitted, “Today, I went before the Judge and I did plead guilty for a misdemeanor DWI. I’ve agreed to follow all of the directions of the Court. But, as I mentioned before, this has been a learning experience for me. I hope that it helps you as you think about taking these sleep aides.”
Keough makes a good point that citizens should avoid taking powerful sleep aides, such as Ambien, but he missed the more important point that taking Ambien, a downer, with amphetamines, which are uppers, is dangerous for the individual taking those powerful – and illegal drugs in this instance – as well as being a grave danger to others around the drug user.
“There could be lingering effects, and you don’t want that,” said Keough. “Meanwhile, as your County Judge, I don’t want this to be a distraction, because when I ran for this office, and you elected me for this office, I decided there were certain things that needed to get done and we’ve had flooding, and we’ve now had this pandemic, and now we’re going through all of the issues that have to do with the shots necessary to protect you in the future, and we’re going through that right now, and I will continue to do that. Now that we’ve worked through the freezing and the broken pipes, we’re getting through that as well.”