New York Assemblyman Brian Kolb was arrested and charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated after a crash on New Year’s Eve.
Deputies responded to a crash at 10:27 p.m. Tuesday in Ontario County, New York, and identified Kolb as the driver of the 2018 GMC Arcadia involved in the incident. No one was injured, and no other vehicles were involved.
Kolb was in the vehicle in a ditch in front of his home when the deputy arrived, Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson said. Kolb cooperated with deputies, Henderson added.
The vehicle Kolb was driving is registered to New York state, Henderson said.
Kolb failed a field sobriety test and was arrested, Henderson said. While at the Ontario County Jail, Kolb was given a Breathalyzer test, which indicated his blood-alcohol content was over 0.08%, Henderson said.
Kolb, who was charged with DWI and unsafe turn, was processed at the Ontario County Jail and is scheduled to appear later in court.
The sheriff declined to reveal from where Kolb was headed or how far he had traveled.
“Mr. Kolb made the choice to operate a motor vehicle on the highway in an intoxicated manner, and now he’s being held accountable,” Henderson said.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Kolb acknowledged his arrest:
“This was a terrible lapse in judgment, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it. I want to offer sincere apologies to my family, friends, colleagues, and the people of the 131st Assembly District. I fully recognize the severity of the situation and I am profoundly sorry. There is no excuse and no justification for what occurred Tuesday evening. I made the wrong decision, and it is one I deeply regret.”
Kolb has represented the 131st Assembly District since 2000 and has served as the assembly minority leader since 2009, the longest tenured legislative leader in Albany. The district covers all of Ontario County and a portion of Seneca County.
Kolb’s arrest came five days after he tweeted, “There is no excuse for driving impaired this holiday season.” That tweet, posted on Dec. 26, has since been deleted.
News of Kolb’s arrest prompted at least one assembly colleague and fellow Republican Kieran Michael Lalor to call for him to step down from his post.
BrianKolb should step down as Assembly Minority Leader,” Lalor tweeted. “That he hasn’t done so already is a disgrace.”
Henderson, a Democrat, said he believes in transparency after his joint news conference with Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts, who is a Republican.
“For me, politics has nothing to do with it,” Henderson said. “We’re both standing side-by-stating that he’s being treated no differently than anyone else. I am being very transparent about this. He’s afforded the same opportunity to go through the criminal justice program. He has taken ownership and he’s not denying this.”
News of the arrest of one of the state’s most powerful Republicans wasn’t released to the media until 12 hours after the crash.
Deputy Ian Hall, who handled the arrest, had to respond to other calls on a busy night and then complete an incident report, Henderson said.
After the report was completed, it was reviewed by supervisory sergeant and then by a lieutenant. Then the information can be released.
“We’re not trying to hide,” Henderson said, “and I think we’ve proven that.”
Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, declined to comment on Kolb’s arrest.
A Kolb spokesman did not respond Wednesday to whether taxpayers would be on the hook for any repairs to Kolb’s state-issued SUV.
Kolb has taken a strong stance against DWI in the past, including in 2009, when he and fellow Assembly Republicans backed Leandra’s Law.
“Leandra’s Law will help keep intoxicated motorists off our roadways and, most importantly, send a crystal clear message to someone who might even think about trying to drive drunk with a child passenger,” Kolb said at the time. https://news.yahoo.com/york-republican-lawmaker-brian-kolb-132125618.html