New Year's Eve DUI arrest report indicates Wigginton's estranged wife placed call to Edwardsville police

By Ann Maher | Jan 17, 2019

A DUI arrest report of former U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton indicates that his estranged wife Kathleen contacted Edwardsville police to report he was "highly intoxicated" after striking her friend's vehicle in a Sonic restaurant parking lot at around 10 p.m. on Dec. 31.

"...A female anonymous caller reported that her friend's vehicle was struck by a silver Jeep and the driver of the Jeep, Stephen R. Wigginton...was reportedly highly intoxicated," states a police reported obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The anonymous caller told police that her "ex-husband was driving the Jeep and he struck a friend of the caller. The unknown subject that was reportedly struck by Wigginton called her to report the incident and did not want to file a report," wrote officer Justin Towell, who assisted officer Nicholas Henderson in the arrest.

Wigginton's New Year's Eve DUI incident was not his first. He pleaded guilty to driving drunk a year and a half ago, stemming from arrest by Troy police in May 2017. 


Wigginton  

On the night of his recent arrest, officers noted that his speech was slurred, his answers to questions were inconsistent and while performing a walk and turn test, he lost his balance which required officers to catch him to avoid falling.

When he was first stopped, Wigginton told police that he was aware that he had been involved in a minor fender bender, but indicated that it took place at the Edwardsville restaurant Wang Gang, less than a half mile from the incident, where he had been earlier. Wigginton told police he did not know whom he had struck, and said the person he struck did not know any of his family members. He told officer Towell he was staying at the Holiday Inn and officer Henderson he was staying at the Country Hearth Inn.

After failing the field sobriety test, as well as showing "numerous" indicators of impairment and his admission of taking "numerous" prescription pills, Wigginton was placed into double locked handcuffs, seated in the rear of a police car and transported to Edwardsville Police Department. He surrendered his license; bail was set at $3,000; and he posted $100 bond.

The arrest reports show that Henderson was first to report to the scene, near Plummer and Commerce Drive, shortly after 10 p.m.

Henderson wrote that he first observed Wigginton's Jeep slowly driving in the parking lot of the Country Hearth Inn - where Wigginton was actually staying. While Henderson was exiting the empty Sonic parking lot, presumably there to look for the vehicle that had been struck, Wigginton's Jeep slowly entered the Sonic parking lot.

Wigginton would later say when questioned that he was going to Sonic for a hamburger, but that they were closed.

"I observed the vehicle drive around the Sonic parking lot at approximately 5 miles per hour, looping around the restaurant and back toward the exit," Henderson wrote. "As the vehicle exited the parking lot onto Plummer Dr., I observed the vehicle drifting into the center of the road and into the oncoming traffic lane.

"I approached the driver's window, which was shut. I knocked on the window and instructed the driver to roll down the window. The driver instead attempted to open the driver's door, to which I instructed the driver to shut the door and roll down the window. I informed the driver of the reason for the stop and asked if he had been drinking, to which he responded no... When asked if he took any (redacted), he stated he took the medication that morning.

"I asked the driver to provide me with his driver's license and insurance. I observed the driver moving at an especially slow speed as he removed his wallet from his pocket. Additionally, despite the insurance card being clearly visible at the front of his wallet, the driver struggled to find the card."

Appointed by President Obama, Wigginton served as U.S. attorney in Fairview Heights from 2010 to 2015. He resigned to join the St. Louis firm of Armstrong Teasdale, which he then left in November 2017 to join the Simmons firm in Alton. After three months with Simmons, he left. He currently heads the Wigginton Law Firm in Belleville.

Kathleen Wigginton petitioned for divorce last year in Madison County Circuit Court. According to the case docket, a dissolution order has not been entered. A settlement conference is scheduled Friday, Jan. 18.

In November, the Wiggintons were ordered not to have contact  -  personal, phone or email - with one another, and must remain 50 feet apart except for police involved exchanges.

The same order also indicates that Kathleen Wigginton, 57, was awarded sole possession of the couple's Troy residence and that Stephen Wigginton, 55, was awarded sole possession of their property in Ft. Meyers, Fla. 

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