Caretti's daughter says judge, girlfriend were 'extremely drunk' - KMSP-TV

Caretti's daughter says judge, girlfriend were 'extremely drunk'

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By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News


MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WJBK) -- "I had only two or three drinks over the course of seven hours at the hall and was certainly not intoxicated at midnight when we arrived at my ex-wife's house," Macomb County Circuit Judge Richard Caretti told Fox 2 on January 16.

The judge adamantly denied being drunk and knowingly letting his drunk girlfriend drive with his kids in the car after a wedding reception Saturday night in Macomb.

But that's not what his own 15-year-old daughter says in a statement she gave to police following the drunk driving arrest of Caretti's girlfriend, Brenda Conway.

"When we got in the car to leave, it was clear Brenda had too much to drink.  Her and my dad both were extremely drunk.  My dad even asked me to please drive.  I have my permit.  I said no because I'm still a new driver and scared to drive at night. My dad told Brenda to drive and she did."

Brenda Conway, Caretti and his daughters, ages 12 and 15, were going to Franklin to drop their girls off with their mom, Lori.  The oldest texted Lori about Brenda as they were driving, writing, "She's drunk beyond belief and she's driving... real safe... Phone dying!!!  ahhhhhh!!!"  Lori said, "Don't use your battery up.  Text when you're a minute away... How far away are you?"  She answered, "40min... but she's driving like a maniac so who knows.  We'll probably get pulled over."

It turns out she did.  When they pulled into Lori's driveway, Franklin Police were waiting and say Brenda Conway blew a 0.18 on her preliminary breath test.

But Judge Caretti told us she seemed perfectly fine.

"When we left the hall, I had absolutely no idea that her able to drive may have been impaired.  She seemed completely fine and normal.  If I had any indication whatsoever that she may have been impaired, I would never have allowed her to drive my children."

Children who had quite a different and terrifying take on that trip.  Again from the statement to police, "My dad repeatedly told her to slow down.  He kept leaning over to look at the speedometer.  She also swerved a lot and drove on the rumble strips multiple times."

"Brenda's driving from the hall to my ex-wife's home was excellent as she abided by all applicable traffic laws," Caretti told us.

Not according to his own daughter.  "Dad also gave her directions and she ignored him.  And when he said 'do you not understand [expletive] English?' she got upset and emotional.  And that's when I was scared for my life because she drove from the far left lane all the way to the right and I thought we were going to go off the side of the road."

I spoke with Judge Caretti by phone, explained the content of the text messages and his daughter's statement.  He said that wasn't true and agreed to go back on camera with us.  However, when we arrived at court, he said he had given it some more thought and instead would just like to release a statement.

It reads, "It is extremely unfortunate that an intensely private matter involving my ex-wife and myself is being played out in public.  It is also unfortunate that my daughter is being dragged into this controversy.  I will not add to what is already a very painful situation for my daughter."

Child Protective Services is investigating Judge Caretti for possible abuse or neglect in this situation.  It's not clear whether or not the Judicial Tenure Commission will be looking into it.

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