WASHINGTON -- Former EPA chief Anne Burford attacked and insulted a woman police guard while Burford and her husband were in jail on drinking-related charges, the sheriff of Arlington County says.
Mrs. Burford was charged by Arlington, Va., police with being drunk in public after causing a commotion during her husband's arrest and clawing and insulting a woman guard, Sherriff James Gondles said Sunday.
Robert Burford, the Reagan-appointed director of the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, faces a hearing Oct. 16 on his arrest Friday on charges of driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breathalyzer test.
Mrs. Burford was arrested two hours later on a charge of being drunk in public at the Arlington County Detention Center, police said. She has the option of paying a $30 fine or appearing in court.
The Burfords, who reside in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, declined to comment on the arrests.
At the White House, spokesman Larry Speakes said, 'We'll wait and see what the facts are' before commenting.
Gondles said he was told by deputies that the scene at the jail Friday night was 'a madhouse.'
The incident leading to the Burfords' arrest began on a superhighway that connects the nation's capital and Virginia suburbs. A Virginia state trooper helping a disabled vehicle noticed a car stopped in the middle lane across the median.
Gondles said police reports show Burford repeatedly told the state trooper he was a Reagan appointee and did not have to take the breathalyzer test.
Anne Burford was arrested when she repeatedly rang the buzzer at the door from the jail lobby to the cellblocks, 'screamed' she was a lawyer and demanded to see her husband, whom she described as her client, Gondles said.
In her holding cell, Anne Burford banged her shoes on the bars 'yelling and screaming,' Gondles said. 'She kept saying: 'I'm a lawyer and I know my rights and I know my husband's rights.''
When Deputy Sheriff Patty Pearson tried to take Mrs. Burford's shoes away, she tried to leave the cell. Gondles said Mrs. Burford then clawed Pearson's arms with her fingernails and yelled obscene insults at her.
The couple was released from jail early Saturday on personal recognizance.
Robert Burford faces six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Mrs. Burford resigned from the EPA in 1983 after critics charged she was lax in enforcing environmental laws. In December 1982, Congress cited her for criminal contempt for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents regarding EPA's toxic waste cleanup program.