Ford family heir and Ford Motor Co. executive Elena Ford pleaded guilty in a Michigan District Court in connection with a recent incident where she was stopped by police after running over the center median in a Detroit suburb and then found to be under the influence of alcohol. Complicating the situation, Ford had a child in the vehicle at the time of her arrest.
The 44-year suburban Detroit resident was visibly shaken and choking back tears as a judge placed her on 24 months probation, fined her $1,518 and ordered Ford to perform 240 hours of community service.
While under probation she will be screened for drug and alcohol use and could be jailed for up to 93 days should she not meet the terms of that probation. Meanwhile, a second offense involving a child could result in a felony conviction and a prison sentence of up to five years.
“Being here today is something I’ve never experienced, nor will I likely experience today,” a somber Ford told the judge. “It’s a complete embarrassment to my family –especially to my son,” she said, tears welling up, “And I can’t tell you how sorry I am this happened.
When Ford was stopped, on April 3, officers tested her for alcohol, finding her unable to recite the alphabet or pass other field sobriety tests. Determining she was over the limit Ford was placed her under arrest, the Ford Motor Co. executive being kept in a jail cell in Ferndale, Michigan for five hours before her attorney arrived and posted bond.
An advertising specialist, with a degree from New York University, Elena Ford is a great-great-grandchild of carmaker founder Henry Ford. She was actually born Niarchos, a child of the Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos and Henry Ford’s great-granddaughter Charlotte. She adopted the Ford family name in 1995, shortly before joining the company, whose chairman is now her cousin William Clay Ford Jr.