Sen. Graham Accused of DWI

9 years 7 months 2 days ago October 26, 2007 Oct 26, 2007 Friday, October 26 2007 Friday, October 26, 2007 1:34:14 PM CDT in News

Columbia Police said Graham was involved in a three-vehicle accident at 9:47 p.m. Saturday night at a stop sign at the intersection of Green Meadows and Bethel in Columbia.

While exchanging insurance information at the scene, the Columbia Police Department took Graham into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

The probable cause statement says, "Graham's eyes were red, watery, and bloodshot. His breath had a strong odor of alcohol and Graham slurred and mumbled while he spoke."

The statement also says Graham acknowledged consuming "a few" beers before driving.

Police said Graham refused a breathalyzer and wouldn't give police a blood sample.

Columbia Police Sgt. Simons said Graham was transported to University Hospital for medical treatment after complaining of pain in his arm. Simons said Graham posted a $500 bond and was released from Boone County Jail Sunday morning.

Graham was charged with first offense DWI and operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner.

In the probable cause statement, an officer says, "I believe that defendant poses a danger to the community or to any other person because while drunk, Graham drove his motor vehicle into the rear of another motor vehicle, thereby endangering countless innocent users of the roadway."

Police said they are treating this accident like any other, despite the high profile arrest.

"All accidents are handled the same," said Sgt. Dan Beckman of the Columbia Police Department. "I don't care who's involved in it. We're going to handle each accident the same. We're going to investigate it, find out what happened. We're going to issue the proper summonses if they need be, or we're going to make the proper arrests."

Republican Majority Leader Charlie Shields expressed concern regarding the arrest.

"Obviously this would be an unfortunate incident, however it's one, as the Senate, we'd let the courts and the legal system address," Shields said. "Certainly in the history of the legislature there's been cases like this and from time to time these things happen, we don't like to see it, it's a bad reflection of the institution, but ultimately we let the legal system deal with it."

KOMU tried to contact Graham and several members of the Democratic party but no one would comment on the incident.

KOMU also scheduled an interview with a couple who said they were the driver and passenger of the van Graham's car hit.

They later decided not to go on camera, but in a phone conversation they did say the accident was more than a fender bender, the front of Graham's car was smashed and Graham's airbags went off.

According to the Boone County Democrats Web site, Graham is scheduled to kick off his 2008 campaign with a party and fundraiser this Friday.

At this time there is no comment from the senator.

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