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Senator apologizes for drunk driving arrest

March 4, 2010 |  6:38 am

Roy Ashburn Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) issued a written apology Wednesday after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

“I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment," Ashburn said. "I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me – my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."

Ashburn was arrested shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday by California Highway Patrol officers near the state Capitol. He was booked in Sacramento County Jail and released later that morning.

Ashburn’s arraignment has been set for April 14 at 8:30 a.m. in Sacramento Superior Court, according to Shelly Orio, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Ashburn was driving the car the state had purchased for him, a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, when he was arrested by officers of the CHP’s Capitol Protection Section, according to Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Senate leader Darrell Steinberg.

"It’s being held in the [state] garage pending resolution of the case," Barankin said.

Ashburn was spotted by CHP officers "driving erratically"’ westbound on L Street near 15th Street at 2:10 a.m., and they pulled him over, according to Lt. Jay Bart.

The officers determined there was evidence Ashburn was under the influence and took him to county jail, where he was booked on suspicion of driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08%, the legal limit, Bart said.

"He was very cooperative," Bart said.

The Capitol Protection Section provides security for elected officials, but it also patrols the area to protect other state buildings, and it was on such a patrol when officers spotted Ashburn’s car, Bart said. "We handled this as we handle any DUI investigation," he said.

-- Anthony York and Patrick McGreevy

Photo: Roy Ashburn's booking photo. Credit: Sacramento County Sheriff's Department / Associated Press