A Gorham town councilor who was scheduled to make an initial court appearance this morning on charges of driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a letter filed in Cumberland County Unified Court by her attorney.

Suzanne Phillips, 36, was arrested by Gorham police around 1 a.m. on May 4 after allegedly hitting two parked cars on School Street and driving away.

Amanda Doherty, the attorney representing Phillips, said Tuesday that she wouldn’t discuss details of the case until court documents with more information about the allegations are made public.

“There definitely seems to be more than meets the eyes,” she said.

Phillips has declined to discuss the details of the incident and has said she does not plan to resign from the council. She was elected to her first term in November.

A crash report filed with the state Department of Public Safety said a witness to the accident followed Phillips and called Gorham police with her location.

It said a breath test showed her blood-alcohol content to be 0.11 percent. The legal limit is 0.08.

In the wake of news reports last month about the charges against Phillips, the incident has been the subject of contentious public discussions among Gorham councilors.

On June 19, councilor Matthew Robinson proposed to amend the agenda to add a public discussion of the charges. No public comment period was scheduled because it was a special meeting, not a regularly scheduled one.

Town attorney Bill Dale advised that it would be against the rules to add a public discussion, but said the decision would be up to the council.

Councilor Philip Gagnon argued that it would be against the rules to vote on whether to discuss a councilor’s personal matter.

The council voted 6-1 not to discuss the matter that night. Robinson cast the dissenting vote.

On July 3, Phillips said she would not discuss details of the incident but would abstain from voting on matters involving the police department if the rest of the council felt she had a conflict of interest.

Other councilors indicated that they didn’t feel there was a conflict of interest and didn’t vote on the matter.


Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]