An Ohio lawmaker was arrested early Friday morning and is accused of driving under the influence.
State Representative Sedrick Denson, 31, was arrested in Columbus around 2:45 a.m. after being pulled over by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper.
He is charged with OVI, driving under a suspended license and felony drug possession.
Denson, from Cincinnati, is a freshman Democratic lawmaker in the Ohio House of Representatives. He was elected in November and just sworn in in January.
OSHP cruiser cameras caught Denson’s car speed past a trooper on I-670 near downtown. The trooper followed Denson as his vehicle crossed lanes of traffic before pulling him over.
Their conversation was also captured on cruiser camera:
Trooper: “Where you heading in a hurry?”
Denson: “Not in a hurry. I’m a state representative here.”
Trooper: “Okay. You did pass me like I was sitting still.”
Trooper: “Are you tired?”
Trooper: “Okay. You were driving outside your lane a few times.”
Denson: “I was coming over, I was following my GPS because I’m not from up here.”
Denson mentioned his position more than once during the traffic stop.
Trooper: “Where you coming from?”
Denson: “Just from my caucus meeting. I’m a Democratic state representative.”
OSHP says the trooper smelled alcohol on Denson and asked him to step out of his car.
Trooper: “Do you have a pocket knife or a gun on you?”
Denson: “I’m an Ohio State Representative with the Ohio House of Representatives.”
Trooper: “What does that have to do with you having a weapon?”
Denson: “I don’t carry a weapon.”
The trooper asked Denson what type of medication he takes, to which Denson twice answered none.
“Okay, your pupils are kind of small right now,” the trooper said.
Despite Denson saying he doesn’t take medication, the criminal complaint says the trooper found one Adderall pill in a plastic bag.
The trooper put Denson through field sobriety tests and said those tests showed evidence of impairment.
Trooper: “How much alcohol did you drink tonight?”
Denson: “Earlier, back at about — we had an event at 5:30. And I had two glasses of wine.”
Denson asks: “Are you thinking I’m intoxicated or something?”
The trooper answers: “You’re definitely intoxicated, bud. We’re gonna figure out how intoxicated you are. So, we’ve got to do field sobriety. We’ve got to do it for everybody.”
The video shows Denson having trouble following instructions during the sobriety test and stumbling while walking an imaginary line.
After additional testing, the trooper cuffs and arrests him.
He refused any chemical tests and was released with a summons to appear in court Tuesday morning.
Denson released this statement Monday:
“While working in Columbus last week, I made an error in judgment. I decided to drive at night after drinking earlier in the evening. Though I believe I wasn’t impaired, I regret not using greater caution under the circumstances.
I was pulled over by a State Highway Patrolman for either speeding or for a lane change violation. I performed several tests during the traffic stop at the Trooper’s direction. Although I felt that I was not impaired, I was arrested for driving my car while under the influence. I regret refusing further testing that would have established that I was not impaired.
The Trooper discovered a single prescription pill that he believed to be Adderall during a search of my car. I am not prescribed and do not use this medicine. The fact that it was in my vehicle is concerning and very serious.
I am confident that the court process will result in a conclusion that supports these facts. But more than anything, I want to apologize and express my regret to people who feel disappointed by my actions. I share their disappointment. This error in judgment will offer me an opportunity to learn and grow. I want to thank everyone who has supported me or expressed their concern throughout this experience.”