HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker seeking re-election after being convicted of impaired driving says he hasn’t had a drink since his early morning arrest 10 months ago.
Republican state Rep. Wes Retherford, of Hamilton, tells the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News that he has made “drastic changes” to show that he has learned from his mistake.
“I’ve refocused and committed myself to my faith, my family, my job, my health,” Retherford said.
Police said Retherford appeared to be passed out behind the wheel in a McDonald’s drive-thru on March 12. A loaded handgun was also found in his car, according to police.
Retherford was charged with suspicion of operating a vehicle while impaired and improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle, a felony. A Butler County grand jury declined to indict Retherford for the felony charge. If convicted of the felony, his career in the Legislature would have ended.
Retherford was later found guilty on the misdemeanor OVI charge. His six-month jail sentence was suspended except for three days of an alcohol intervention program.
“I’ve been talking with people, and a lot of people also see that I accepted it,” Retherford said.
Retherford maintains he has remained sober since the arrest.
“I haven’t had a drink since that night at all. Not even at home in the privacy of my own house,” he said.
Retherford is facing several challengers in the GOP primary in May in southwest Ohio, including former state legislator Greg Jolivette. Retherford is seeking a fourth term.
Information from: MIDDLETOWN: Hamilton-Middletown Journal News , http://www.journal-news.com
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