Sen. Graham issues statement on recent arrest

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | 9:24 p.m. CDT; updated 8:04 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Sen. Chuck Graham issued a statement Tuesday night in response to his arrest this past weekend on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

“I want to apologize to my family, friends, and most importantly, to the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties for any embarrassment I have caused to them,” Graham wrote in an e-mailed statement. “I’m sorry that this incident occurred, not for myself, but for the other people involved and for those who have put their trust in me.”

Graham, D-Columbia, was arrested Saturday night in southwest Columbia when he hit a minivan stopped near the intersection of Green Meadows Road and Bethel Street.

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.

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

Graham said in the statement that he wants to speak more to what happened, but that under the advice of his attorney, he has been silent about the details of the case. However, he said, “I take full responsibility for my actions, and I will abide by what the final decision is in my case.”

How this will effect his political career has yet to be seen, but former Rep. Tom Burcham, R-Farmington, who was arrested twice in 2002 for driving while in intoxicated, warned that Graham could face heat from Republicans.

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. His current term ends in 2008.

“None of us is perfect, and that statement certainly applies to me more than many other people,” Graham wrote in his statement. “But after this cloud of adversity dissipates, I hope to be a better person that will be able to serve the people in our area in an even more effective way.”

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