DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Drunk

Booze Crews: More "Big Brother 3" Busts

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Booze Crews: More "Big Brother 3" Busts

Turns out another "Big Brother 3" contestant knows what it's like to get nailed for drunk driving and other crimes, The Smoking Gun has learned.

Amy Crews, 24, was arrested in February 1999 and charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing her Toyota in a one-car accident near her Arkansas home. According to this West Memphis Police Department report, Crews's car struck a concrete mailbox, rolled onto its roof, and slid for 25 yards before stopping. When cops arrived at 3:30 AM, Crews not only failed a field sobriety test, but registered a .14 on a breathalyzer machine (in 1999, the Arkansas legal limit was a blood alcohol content of .10).

At the time of her DWI arrest, Crews was 20. Since 1935, the legal drinking age in Arkansas has been 21.

In March 1999, Crews pleaded no contest in Crittenden County District Court to the misdemeanor DWI charge. She was hit with a one-year suspended jail term, fined $1000, directed to pay court costs of $300, and ordered to attend alcohol safety school and an alcohol education class.

But it's unclear what Crews might have learned during those courses, since she is often seen guzzling the wine and beer of other Big Brother houseguests, some of whom have talked openly about her prodigious alcohol consumption. In fact, contestant Tonya Paoni--who was just voted off the show--confronted Crews last week and told her she should enter Alcoholics Anonymous upon leaving the Big Brother compound.

Crews appears to relish her role as the show's tipsy, boyfriend-stealing Southern belle, a young woman who does not hesitate to denigrate fellow contestants she deems beneath her. Allison Grodner, the reality TV show's executive producer, has said that "Big Brother 3" staffers "fell in love with Amy" during auditions. "She's a very classy person, opinionated and judgmental in her way, and we like that," said Grodner. "She's not afraid to say what she feels, so we've really enjoyed her."

The 1999 DWI arrest is not the only entry on Crews's rap sheet:

* While a student (briefly) at the University of Mississippi, Crews got nailed in April 1997 for possession of beer by a minor, a misdemeanor. She was fined $172 in Oxford Municipal Court.

* In December 1998, Crews was arrested for reckless driving and driving with a revoked or suspended license after leading an Arkansas state trooper on a high-speed chase. In fact, Crews was going so fast on Interstate 40--92 mph in a 65 mph zone--that the arresting officer noted in his report that he "attempted to catch up with the speeding vehicle but found it to be very difficult." In early-1999, Crews was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving after a Crittenden County District Court trial (she had previously paid a $75 fine to settle the driving with a suspended or revoked license charge).

* In February 1999, a West Memphis Municipal Court judge issued a warrant for Crews's arrest after she bounced a check--for a whopping $6.77--at the Flash Market gas station.

* That warrant remained outstanding until Crews had another run-in with cops, this time in May 1999. She was arrested after a bizarre fender-bender at a bank drive-thru window. When cops responded to the accident scene they discovered Crews was driving though her license had been suspended as a result of the March 1999 DWI conviction. And a warrant search also turned up the bum check--a violation of the Arkansas "Hot Check Law." The check charge was eventually dropped when Crews made restitution to the gas station. And after pleading no contest in Crittenden County District Court, Crews paid a $95 fine to settle the other misdemeanor charges.

On July 22, TSG reported that Chiara Berti, another "Big Brother 3" contestant, was arrested in late-May on drunk driving charges, which are pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. Asked about the 25-year-old's arrest, which came during the final stage of "Big Brother 3" auditions, CBS spokesperson Chris Ender gave reporters a flippant comment about the DUI charge: "On the brighter side, she won't be doing any driving in the house." Incredibly, Ender repeated the same comment when TSG spoke to him today (7/29) about Crews's alcohol problem. "This is a reality program, and in reality people aren't perfect," he said.