Reese Witherspoon arrested for disorderly conduct, husband booked on DUI
ATLANTA — Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon’s performance as an upset wife earned her a trip to jail and a disorderly conduct charge.
“You are going to be on national news,” Witherspoon allegedly told a Georgia state trooper as he handcuffed her on Atlanta’s Peachtree Road early Friday morning.
That didn’t discourage Trooper First Class J. Pyland from writing a very quotable arrest report suitable for national news — with dialogue worthy of a Witherspoon movie script.
Her lawyer worked out a deal with the prosecutor Monday morning in which Witherspoon will go through a pre-trial intervention program to avoid getting a conviction on her record, an Atlanta Municipal Court spokesman said.
The program provides “alternative methods of resolving criminal matters other than prosecution,” the court’s website said. “Participants are charged with minor criminal offenses, do not have prior convictions, do not have any cases pending, and have not already gone through a diversion program.” The judge set May 22 as the date for a hearing to check if she is complying with the program.
Witherspoon, who is in Atlanta to make a movie titled “The Good Lie,” was charged with interfering with Pyland’s arrest of her husband, Hollywood agent James Toth, on a drunken driving charge.
“Mrs. Witherspoon began to hang out the window and say that she did not believe that I was a real police officer,” Pyland wrote. “I told Mrs. Witherspoon to sit on her butt and be quiet.”
Witherspoon, 37, allegedly did not follow his order, getting out of the Ford Fusion instead. When the trooper warned her again, Witherspoon allegedly told him she was a U.S. citizen and allowed to “stand on American ground.” Her American pride got her handcuffed.
“I put my hands on Mrs. Witherspoon’s arms to arrest her,” Pyland wrote. “Mrs. Witherspoon was resistant but I was able to put handcuffs on her without incident due to Mr. Toth calming her.”
“Do you know my name?” the trooper recalled Witherspoon asking him. “I answered, ‘No, I don’t need to know your name.'”
“You’re about to find out who I am,” she replied, the arrest report said.
Pyland stopped Toth, 42, after seeing him weave in and out of his lane as he drove through the city’s Buckhead community, the arrest report said.
Toth’s eyes were bloodshot and his clothing disheveled, Pyland wrote. After several coordination tests, he was given a breathalyzer test that registered 0.139, well above the legal limit of 0.08 for a driving under the influence charge, the report said.
Their car was impounded, and Witherspoon and Toth were taken to the Atlanta city jail, the report said. An unidentified passenger in the back seat caught a cab, it said.
The couple were bailed out of jail Saturday morning. A court date is set for Monday morning.
Having had time to sober up, Witherspoon apologized profusely for her behavior.
“But I do want to say, I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said,” the actress said in a statement. “It was definitely a scary situation and I was frightened for my husband, but that is no excuse. I was disrespectful to the officer who was just doing his job. I have nothing but respect for the police and I’m very sorry for my behavior.”
Witherspoon, whose earlier films include “Legally Blonde” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” won a shelf full of awards for her performance as June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line,” including a best actress Academy Award.
CNN’s Elwyn Lopez and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.