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Sen. Chuck Graham arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated

Sunday, October 21, 2007 | 9:29 p.m. CDT; updated 3:25 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Sen. Chuck Graham was released from jail early Sunday after police arrested the state legislator on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Police said Graham, D-Columbia, rear-ended a minivan near his south Columbia home at about 9:45 p.m. Saturday. Graham was driving on Green Meadows Road when he hit a minivan stopped near the intersection of Green Meadows Road and Bethel Street, police Sgt. Lloyd Simons said.

Police said officers smelled alcohol on Graham, noticed his eyes were watery and bloodshot and that he slurred his words and mumbled.

According to a probable cause statement, Graham, 42, told police he drank “a few” beers before driving. Graham later refused to submit to a Breathalyzer or blood test, police said.

Under state law, a driver’s license can be immediately revoked for a year when a Breathalyzer or other chemical test is refused.

Graham was released Sunday morning from the Boone County Jail after he posted $500 bond.

Driving while intoxicated is a class B misdemeanor on the first offense and carries a penalty of up to six months in jail.

During the crash, the airbag in Graham’s car deployed, and Graham was treated and released from University Hospital after complaining of pain in his arm, Simons said.

None of the other drivers sought treatment for their injuries.

Both of the victims’ vehicles sustained minor damage and Graham’s car sustained moderate damage, Simons said.

Ted Farnen, Graham’s spokesman, wrote in an e-mailed news release that police took Graham into custody while he exchanged insurance information with the other drivers. When reached by phone on Sunday, Farnen declined to elaborate on the incident.

Messages left for Graham at his home Sunday were not immediately returned.

When he was 16 years old, Graham was paralyzed after he was injured in a car accident. Graham is serving his first term as state senator from the 19th district of Missouri, which includes Boone and Randolph counties. He previously served four terms in the Missouri House. Graham earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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