Indictments handed down in golf-cart crash case

ALBANY, Ga. -- A Westover High School counselor could face jail time if found guilty on the drunken driving and reckless driving, serious injury indictments a grand jury handed her Wednesday, a court official said.

Her husband was indicted for withholding evidence, Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Edwards said.

Dougherty County Police Department reports state that Catherine Knight Chandler, 40, drove drunk and crashed her golf cart into Christal Potter, 32, on the 2300 block of Pendleton Street during a Halloween block party.

One of Potter's legs was reported shattered, and she suffered a broken kneecap as a result of the about 9:40 p.m. Oct. 30 injury.

Potter could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"I think this grand jury sends a message that we are responsible for our acts," Edwards said. "Anyone who ingests alcohol has a responsibility not to drive under the influence. Considering all the charges, (Chandler) could get a maximum 20 years."

When police arrived at the block party that attracted more than 200 people, Chandler at first denied driving the golf cart, police reports state. After witnesses came forward, she admitted to driving the cart.

Reports state Chandler was given a sobriety test and registered a .189 and a .168 on two tries. Both numbers are more than twice the legal blood-alcohol content allowed when operating a vehicle.

During the confusion of the huge party, the golf cart disappeared along with Chandler's golf-cart passenger, reports stated.

"Her husband (Chad) parked the golf cart out of the way of the ambulance. It stayed parked there all night," said Thomas V. Duck, Chandler's attorney, in a Nov. 3 interview. "When we found out the police wanted it, we turned it over. We also told police that he (Chad) was the passenger."

Chandler was given a suspension without pay from her high school position. She returned to work Dec. 16.

There is the possibility that the Georgia Professional Standards Commission in Atlanta will review the case after the trial, said Gary Walker, director of the organization's ethics division, in December.

The commission could then issue a warning, a reprimand or a revocation of Chandler's certification to work. The commission's website gapsc.com lists crimes of moral turpitude such as murder, larceny, sale of narcotics and others as more serious infractions.

Offenses that are not crimes but involve moral turpitude, according to the website, include but are not limited to public drunkenness, driving under the influence and obstructing a law officer.