NY politician who urged people to ‘drive sober’ arrested, charged with drunk driving

Posted at 4:25 PM, Jan 02, 2020

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State’s Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-131) was arrested and taken into custody for driving while intoxicated on New Year’s Eve — almost two weeks after he reminded his constituents to drive sober during the holidays.

According to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to the report of a property damage crash in Victor at 10:27 p.m.

Upon arrival, a deputy found Kolb inside a car in a ditch near his Victor home. According to the Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson, the vehicle is registered to New York State.

Kolb was taken into custody and charged with unsafe turn and driving while intoxicated with a BAC over .08%.

“We want everybody in Ontario County and in this district to understand we are doing this the right way,” District Attorney Jim Ritts in a press conference with the sheriff’s office on Wednesday.

“We want to make sure that everybody feels that the justice system works the same for everyone. That’s what we’re doing, that’s what we would do in any circumstance like this and certainly the assembly leader is no different.”

Ritts said a special prosecutor will be assigned to the case on Thursday and a judge will be appointed from outside the county.

Brian Kolb, a Republican, represents the 131st district, which includes part of the Finger Lakes region southeast of Rochester.

Kolb released a statement on Wednesday addressing the incident:

“This was a terrible lapse in judgement, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it. I want to offer sincere apologies to my family, friends, colleagues and to the people of the 131st Assembly District. I fully recognize the severity of the situation and I am profoundly sorry.”

No one was injured in the crash. He is due in the Town of Victor Court at a later date.

Earlier in December, Kolb released a statement to urge people to be safe, consider others on the road and to take advantage of ride sharing options.

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and its message is important: do not operate a vehicle if your ability to do so is impaired. Drunk driving is not only dangerous to the driver, but to vehicle passengers, bystanders and other drivers. Please consider the ramifications of impaired driving, especially as we prepare to close out 2019 and welcome in a new decade

As part of December’s awareness month, New York State has also embarked on a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” enforcement campaign. Started earlier this month, it runs through Jan. 1, 2020. According to information from the Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated, last year alone there were 4,142 arrests for impaired driving and 144,197 tickets and violations issued. This year, let’s try to get both of those numbers to zero.