Wal-Mart heiress gets Texas DWI arrest expunged after prosecutors decline to press charges
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Alice Walton, the billionaire daughter of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, has had a 2011 arrest in Texas for suspected drunken driving cleared from her record after prosecutors declined to press formal charges.
The arrest was expunged from Walton’s record during a hearing Monday in Parker County, Texas, which is just west of Fort Worth. Parker County Assistant Prosecutor Fred Barker told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://is.gd/AH52bq ) in October that he expected Walton’s request to be granted and that case records would be destroyed. He declined to discuss the matter Monday.
“It’s a criminal offence to discuss any information related to an expunction. As such, we have no information to provide,” Barker said.
Walton, 64, was arrested Oct. 7, 2011. Texas prosecutors never filed formal charges against Walton and the two-year statute of limitations expired, meaning the case against her could no longer be pursued.
Tom Vinger, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the trooper who arrested Walton was suspended in March for alleged misconduct and hadn’t returned to duty, and was thus unavailable to testify in Walton’s case.
Mac Smith, the Texas attorney who represented Walton, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment left Tuesday by The Associated Press.
In documents seeking to clear Walton’s record, Smith noted that the arrest was for an alleged misdemeanour.
“No information or indictment was ever filed by the state and the statute of limitations for this offence expired on Oct. 7, 2013,” Smith wrote.
Court records said the officer arrested Walton based on her performance in field-sobriety tests. Walton told Davis she has an injured leg and couldn’t perform balance tests under any circumstances.
The newspaper reported previously that defence lawyers submitted letters from two physicians saying Walton cannot walk or maintain her balance normally. The doctors said she was injured in a motor-vehicle accident in Mexico in November 1983 that left her left leg shorter than her right.
Walton had previously been convicted in 1998 of drunken driving in Springdale, Ark., following a single-vehicle accident.
In 1989, her vehicle struck and killed a woman who was walking in traffic on Arkansas 265 in the state’s northwest. Walton was not cited and police said she wasn’t at fault in the accident.
Walton, whose father was Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, has a net worth of $US33.5 billion, which Forbes magazine says makes her the eighth-wealthiest American. The Texas citation was filed a month before the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, which she founded.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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