Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
- 04-20-2012, 03:02 PM #1
CA. Assemblyman was driving state car when arrested in DUI case
April 20, 2012
Assemblyman was driving state car when arrested in DUI case
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez did not have permission of the Assembly to take a state car out of the Sacramento area last month when he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Concord.
The Toyota Camry hybrid that Hernandez was driving the night of his arrest, March 27, was an Assembly pool car assigned to the West Covina Democrat for travel in the Capitol area, according to Jon Waldie, Assembly administrator.
Lawmakers are making more extensive use of personal vehicles or pool cars after California's independent salary-setting commission eliminated a lease-car program serving Assembly and Senate officeholders.
The general rule is that Assembly members not take pool cars out of Sacramento without prior permission. Officials prefer that out-of-area trips be for a legislative or governmental purpose, Waldie said.
"He was not fully aware of those rules, I guess, being a first-term member," Waldie said. "He is now fully aware of those rules."
Hernandez could not be reached immediately for comment today. Pending results of a blood test, no charges have been filed.
The 36-year-old lawmaker, accompanied in the Toyota Camry by a 29-year-old woman, contends that laboratory results will show that he was not legally drunk when taken into custody.
By contrast, Concord police say that Hernandez was spotted weaving his car in its lane about 2 a.m. on a weeknight. He failed a field sobriety test and declined to take a breath test when stopped in the parking lot of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, police said.
Days after his arrest, Hernandez told The Bee that he had been in the Bay Area to visit a friend. He had consumed "two, maybe three glasses of wine over the course of a period longer than four hours after dinner."
"I was not drunk," Hernandez said. "I felt very clear and coherent. I felt very comfortable driving."
Waldie declined to comment on what legislative or governmental purpose, if any, was served by Hernandez's trip.
"He gave me a description that could be described as a governmental purpose," Waldie said, declining to elaborate.
Though he was driving a state car, Hernandez did not inform the Assembly's administrative office about his arrest until two days later, Waldie said.
Notification came shortly after The Bee had received an anonymous tip about the arrest and asked Hernandez about it.
Waldie said the arrest has not prompted Assembly restrictions on Hernandez's use of a pool car. "There has been no judicial finding that would compromise" his privileges, Waldie said.
Capitol Alert: Assemblyman was driving state car when arrested in DUI caseNO AMNESTY
DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP