The West Tawakoni woman accused of driving a Hunt County patrol vehicle into a tree in early December has had her court date moved up.

Charges are still pending against West Tawakoni resident Tiffany Bates, who was arrested in early February on a driving while intoxicated charge stemming from a Dec. 4 Hunt County patrol vehicle accident. But Bates’ arraignment hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday — almost a month earlier than it was previously scheduled.

Initially Bates’ arraignment hearing was scheduled for March 26, according to court paperwork. It’s not currently known why the hearing was moved up.

County Attorney Joel Littlefield, whose office will be prosecuting the case, could not be reached for comment by press time.

Bates said Monday she plans to plea “not guilty” to the charge she is facing.

“I don’t have any intentions on pleading guilty to something I didn’t do,” she said.

Bates, who was the subject of last Tuesday’s Herald-Banner story “Shattered Justice,” was arrested earlier in the month following a Department of Public Safety investigation. The investigating officer has said she was behind the wheel of the patrol vehicle, which had apparently been driven to her house by her now ex-boyfriend and former Hunt County Patrol Sgt. Allen Hammond, who was off-duty at the time of the accident.

DPS officials say Bates, under the influence of alcohol, drove the car into a tree less than a mile from her West Tawakoni home.

Bates has insisted that Hammond was behind the wheel that night, but has said law enforcement officials refuse to believe her. She has said she was wrongly arrested and charged with the offense and has made allegations about misconduct by DPS and Hunt County Sheriff’s Office officials.

On top of the DWI charges, she faces, Bates’ driver’s license has been suspended. She has been suspended from her job pending the outcome of the DWI charge. And she has received a $10,350.92 bill for the damage to the patrol vehicle.

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