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Decatur driver on DUI charges falls to the ground in praise after learning she will be freed

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DECATUR — A Decatur woman jailed on a driving under the influence of alcohol charge fell to her knees in the courtroom and began waving her arms up and down as she cried out in joy at the news she would soon be released from custody.

Artiela L. Rodgers, 46, chanted “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa” until Macon County Circuit Court Judge Phoebe Bowers and Macon County Jail staff told Rodgers to get up and stop her outspoken cries of thanksgiving. She could still be heard singing as she was led away.

The judge had earlier set her bond at $5,000 but had told Rodgers at a court hearing Wednesday that she was due to be released soon after her defense attorney, Dave Ellison, had said she was ready to plead guilty in a plea deal.

Rodgers’s case came up for a hearing again Thursday when she was released on a $5,000 recognizance bond, which does not require a cash payment.

Rodgers had been arrested on June 8 on charges that included aggravated DUI and driving on a revoked license. A sworn affidavit from Decatur police said officers had responded to reports of an impaired driver and found Rodgers after she pulled into a driveway in the 1700 block of East Clay Street. The affidavit said she could not stand without swaying and failed various field sobriety tests.

Weeping at one point during her Wednesday court hearing in which she waived a preliminary hearing to see if she had a case to answer, Rodgers had said she was desperate to get out of jail. “I’m about to lose my house; I got to pay my taxes,” she told the judge.

Bowers set her case for a disposition hearing Jan. 4. Rodgers' final sentence will include undergoing treatment for a drinking problem.


Mug shots from the Herald & Review

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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