PALM BEACH — In the “hear no evil, see no evil” world of Palm Beach society, a serious car accident involving Anheuser-Busch family stunner Christine “Binkie” McSweeney Orthwein didn’t get much buzz after the so-called Shiny Sheet failed miserably to inform its readers about her alleged DUI crash with a shuttle from The Breakers.
But, according to public records, the crash was bad enough for both Breakers chauffeur Charles Legros and Binkie to be rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach for treatment.
And so Binkie, 41, wife of Palm Beach upper-crust stalwart Chris Orthwein and a permanent fixture on the black-tie gala circuit, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and was sentenced to one year on probation in early December.
Judge August Bonavita withheld adjudication after the office of State Attorney Dave Aronberg failed to prosecute her on two counts of DUI with property damages and injuries.
By all accounts, Binkie’s being a standup probationer as she slogs through the numerous conditions of her limited freedom, including 75 hours of community service, DUI education and her temporary use of an anti-drinking locking mechanism when she wants to drive somewhere.
She also must refrain from drinking booze and has been told to pay for the damages. According to a lien filed again her, Legros’ medical treatment cost $35,837.20.
And Bonavita was real nice to Binkie: She is allowed to serve liquor to her guests at home for as long as she doesn’t imbibe, and she can mail in her probation paperwork during the summer, when she and most of the Palm Beach populace moves the party north.
Her car did get immobilized for 10 days in December, according to records.
Incidentally Binkie was not arrested by Palm Beach Police, as it is customary in most cases of DUI. We called the agency’s spokesman to get an explanation. He promised to check into it but has yet to comment.
According to the information available, Binkie slammed her 2016 Range into the back of Legros’ 2012 Turtle Top bus with The Breakers markings. The accident occurred about 11 p.m. April 6 while the bus was stopped at a red light at the corner of Royal Poinciana Way and North County Road.
Palm Beach Police Officer Chris Machate did report on his notes Binkie’s eyes were “glossy” and “she appeared to be very confused.” He described her as “incoherent, confused, happy” in her blue dress. She was described as “repetitive” in her explanation of what happened. She claimed wrongly that the bus was turning but stopped short when she slammed into it.
Machate claims an odor of liquor emanated from her person. And the court papers indicate a blood test was administered at the hospital but the results are not included in the file.
Police did say in the paperwork that surveillance cameras at the street corner showed Binkie may have not even braked before she hit the little bus.
Binkie didn’t return a message left on her cell phone.
Binkie’s husband is the only son of Nancy Morrison and Adolphus Busch Orthwein, whose great-grandfather started the famous beer company.