Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming confirmed this afternoon that Fortuna city manager Mark Wheetley pleaded guilty to driving involving alcohol (Vehicle Code section 23103.5, also known as a "wet and reckless") and violation of probation due to a previous DUI arrest. Court commissioner Timothy Canning sentenced Wheetley to three years probation and 15 days in jail.
"[He] must not drink and drive, complete the 9 month alcohol program and was fined $1,134," Fleming wrote in an email. "His current conviction will have the same effect as a DUI conviction if he re-offends."
Wheetley was arrested on July 13, 2017, for allegedly driving about 70 miles an hour in a 55 zone on New Navy Base Road near Samoa with expired registration tags. The arrest was a violation of his probation terms for an earlier DUI arrest in January of 2016, which at the time torpedoed his candidacy for Fourth District supervisor. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and was sentenced to three years probation.
Wheetley did not return an email for comment on the matter; the Fortuna city clerk also did not return a message from the Journal
. The city sent out notice of a disciplinary hearing for an unnamed employee to be held tomorrow afternoon.