Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

October 13, 2011

Walmart heiress Walton arrested on, takes responsibility for, DWI charge


Mineral Wells Index

Christin Coyne | ccoyne@weatherforddemocrat.com

WEATHERFORD - Walmart heiress Alice Walton spent the last hour of her 62nd birthday in the Parker County Jail Friday night after being arrested by a Texas Highway Patrol trooper on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Walton, who listed a Parker County address, was stopped on Interstate 20 in a construction zone near South Main Street in Weatherford for a traffic violation shortly after 10 p.m. by Trooper Jeff Davis, according to Senior Trooper Gary Rozzell.

“Through an investigation at the scene, [Walton] was determined to be intoxicated during a field sobriety test,” Rozzell said.

Walton refused a breath test, according to Rozzell.

She was arrested for driving while intoxicated, first offense, a class B misdemeanor, and transported to the Parker County Jail, Rozzell said.

“We’re going to treat this like anybody else,” Rozzell said.

The probable cause affidavit was unavailable Wednesday afternoon from the Parker County Jail.

Typically, jail book-in information and a head shot picture are published on the Parker County Jail website within hours of an arrest in Parker County. However, Walton’s arrest information and mug shot did not appear to be published on the Parker County Jail website until a call was made to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office from a Democrat reporter Wednesday afternoon.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said as far as he knows, the information was published on the website all along and wasn’t aware there was an issue viewing the information on the website.

“There’s no conspiracy,” Fowler said. 

Records show Walton was booked into jail shortly after 11 p.m. Friday and released on $1,000 bond around 8:40 a.m. Saturday.

According to a statement released by a family spokesman, Walton accepts full responsibility for the incident. 

“Ms. Walton was pulled over by a patrolman with the Department of Public Safety for driving 71 mph in an unattended 55 mph construction zone,” Walton’s attorney, Dee J. Kelly, said in a statement. “She was returning home from a birthday dinner with friends at a Fort Worth restaurant. She accepts full responsibility for this unfortunate incident and deeply regrets it.”

Walton is the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Forbes currently names her the 10th richest person in America worth nearly $21 billion.

The arrest is not Walton’s first for driving under the influence.

According to information from the Springdale District Court in Arkansas, Walton was convicted of driving under the influence in a 1998 case.

Walton paid a several hundred dollar fine in that case, according to other news reports.

No previous conviction showed up on her criminal history so Walton was charged Friday with a first offense DWI, according to Rozzell.

Previous news accounts state Walton was also involved in a 1989 wreck in Arkansas that resulted in the death of a 50-year-old woman. No charges were reportedly filed.