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Feb 13, 8:27 PM EST

Spokane lawmaker cited for driving under the influence


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Democratic Rep. Timm Ormsby of Spokane has been charged with driving under the influence after his Jeep ran off the road and rolled into a yard in Thurston County.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Ormsby, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was arraigned in Thurston County District Court Monday for the Saturday accident.

The citation filed with the court for Ormsby's hearing says he had a blood alcohol content of at least .090 in an infrared scan and as high as .10 on the electrochemical scan of the Breathalyzer test. State law sets the limit for driving under the influence at .080.

In a written statement Tuesday, Ormsby apologized, writing that he "made a very poor choice this weekend."

Ormsby, 58, wrote that he will "abide by whatever consequences I receive."

The accident occurred at an intersection about three miles west of the city limits, near the area where he lives during the legislative session. According to a Thurston County sheriff's investigation first reported by KXLY, Ormsby said he was distracted by a text message from his wife while turning onto the road, causing him to swerve and crash his Jeep.

The investigating deputy reported smelling a "heavy odor of alcohol" from the vehicle, and Ormsby said he had two 16 ounce beers while working on the state supplemental budget. He failed field sobriety tests before agreeing to take the breath test. After failing the breath test and being told his blood alcohol wouldn't be that high from just two beers, he reportedly said he also had two 12 ounce beers in the afternoon before going to work.

House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said no decision has been made yet about whether Ormsby will lose his chairmanship.

"We take this very seriously," Sullivan told the Spokesman-Review Tuesday. "We'll have this conversation in our leadership team. It's a group decision."

The Legislature is currently in the midst of a 60-day legislative session scheduled to end March 8. Senate and House leaders are set to release their budget proposals in the coming weeks.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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