A Democratic representative from California was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing into parked cars. Wendy Carrillo, who represents the 52nd Assembly District, was taken into custody after the incident on Friday morning. Carrillo is currently running for a city council seat against Kevin de León.
Witnesses informed the arresting officers that they could detect the smell of alcohol on Carrillo, who appeared to be slurring her words and exhibiting signs of impairment. Despite her condition, Carrillo initially denied being intoxicated and claimed that the crash occurred because she had “sneezed” and lost control of her vehicle.
The Los Angeles police received reports around 12:20 a.m. regarding a motorist, later identified as Carrillo, colliding with two parked cars in the Montecito Heights neighborhood. Witnesses at the scene reported hearing a loud noise from the impact. The collision was significant enough to activate Carrillo’s airbags and push her Audi back into the middle of the road.
“We walked out and asked if she was okay, she was hand gesturing like she was all good, thumbs up and stuff,” one witness told ABC 7.
Nobody was hurt in the crash.
“As soon as she got out of the car and started talking to us, it was really clear to me, as a non-expert, that was she was intoxicated,” the witness said.
“You could smell alcohol.
“She was slurring her speech.
“She was very impaired.”
The 43-year-old Democratic legislator appeared unsteady during the field sobriety test, and officers had to assist her to avoid falling, as depicted in video footage. While conversing with the officers and still exhibiting slurred speech, Carrillo maintained that she had sneezed, leading to the crash.
“I’m sorry I sneezed and I lost track of the vehicle,” she tells one of the witnesses after she rammed into the cars, according to video obtained by Fox 11.
Subsequently, Carrillo was found to have a significantly elevated blood alcohol content, exceeding twice the legal limit. LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz confirmed this, as reported by the LA Times.
Carrillo’s booking took place at Los Angeles County Jail slightly after 4 a.m., and she was released without bail shortly after 1 p.m. on Friday, as indicated by her records in the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
In a statement issued post-arrest, Carrillo issued an apology and recognized that she is held to a higher standard, yet refrained from acknowledging the DUI incident.
“As a public servant, I am aware that I must adhere to a higher standard that demands personal accountability for my conduct and I accept responsibility for my actions, the statement read.
“I sincerely apologize, to my family, constituents, colleagues and staff for any actions of mine that have fallen short of that expectation.
“I intend to seek the necessary help and support.”