Local beauty queen could lose crown over DUI conviction
MONROE, Wash. -- A local beauty queen who was busted for drunk driving didn't tell pageant officials about her conviction, and she's in danger of losing her crown now that the secret is out.
Stormy Keffeler was arrested last April for DUI. At the time of her arrest, police say her blood alcohol level was .252 and .229, which is roughly three times the legal limit in Washington.
"I am so sorry to anybody that I've disappointed and I can assure you that anything that's said (about me) I've thought so much worse of myself," Keffeler said. "All of this is just a huge mistake and misunderstanding and I never intended to falsify information."
Keffeler said it was by mistake that she did not disclose that she pleaded guilty to drinking and driving. The pageant application requires the disclosure.
"I'm very sorry for misfiling out the paperwork. I never meant to hurt anybody or to offend anybody," she said.
On the night of her arrest, Seattle police reported Keffeler popped two tires while driving. When she was approached, according to police, she smelled of alcohol and stumbled and swayed when she was asked to get out of the vehicle.
The incident occurred last April and she pled guilty in September. In October she was crowned Miss Washington USA, and five days later she was sentenced for the DUI.
Pageant officials just learned of the conviction last Friday.
"We tell these young women you are a role model to somebody so you are going to be in the public eye whether you like it or not," said Maureen Francisco, co-executive producer of Miss Washington USA. "There's no such thing as a private life."
Francisco said all documentation has been turned over to the Miss Universe Organization, which will decide whether Keffeler gets to keep her crown.
"I don't know of any young person who has never made a mistake," Francisco said. "So I want people, when they are quick to judge, to look at themselves and say, 'gosh have I ever made a mistake in my 20s or 30s or ever in my life that I wish was not unfolding in front of the world to see?' "
Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a pageant platform. MADD Executive Director Wilma Comenat responded to the news by saying, "We're disappointed anytime someone makes the poor choice to drink and drive, especially when that person may be considered a role model. We understand that no one was killed or injured as a result of this incident, but that's often not the case; nearly 150 people are killed each year in the state of Washington. With so many options today there's no excuse to drink and drive."
Keffeler says she understands that.
"The only difference between today and the day I was crowned Miss Washington USA is that people know and I've already turned my life around applied the life lessons so all I ask is that I receive a second chance and that I use my life experience to deter others," she said.
"This lesson was heard loud and clear," she added. "I will never drink and drive again. This is something that's going to stick with me forever."