Lawmaker charged with DUI won't seek reelection

A Connecticut lawmaker charged with drunken driving in October announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection, but said his decision had nothing to do with the DUI charge.

State Rep. Joe Verrengia, D-West Hartford, told the Hartford Courant that the demands of being a legislator take away from his time with family.

The DUI charge “had zero impact on my decision to retire,” Verrengia said. “I just think it’s time.”

Verrengia served as a West Hartford police officer for 25 years and as a town councilor for six years. He was elected to the House in 2011.

After the DUI charge, Verrengia was suspended as co-chair of the state legislature's public safety committee. He was restored to the position earlier this year.

Since his arrest, he has completed an alcohol education program for first-time DUI offenders, which will lead to dismissal of the charge in November if he successfully completes a probationary period.

Verrengia fell asleep behind the wheel in the travel lane of a West Hartford street, prompting three 911 calls, police said.