Republican state Rep. Kip Smith was arrested early Friday morning in Buckhead and charged with DUI, according to an Atlanta police report obtained by Channel 2 Action News.
Smith, a 29-year-old lawmaker from Columbus, was pulled over after leaving Hal’s restaurant on Old Ivy Road and allegedly running a red light while traveling southbound on Peachtree Road, the police report said.
Efforts to contact Smith were unsuccessful Friday night.
Atlanta police Officer Z.A. Kramer, who was following the lawmaker’s 1998 gold four-door Jaguar XJ8, said the traffic light had just turned red when Smith went through the intersection at Pharr Road.
Kramer said he informed Smith, who was traveling alone, why he was stopped, and the lawmaker told him he didn’t realize the light was red.
“I observed the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Mr. Smith’s breath,” Kramer said in his report. “He advised me he was a state representative and gave the name ‘Kip Smith.'”
Smith, whose given name is John Andrew Smith, first told the officer he had not consumed any alcoholic beverages.
“I asked him again, and he stated he had consumed a single beer at Hal’s. I noticed also that Mr. Smith’s eyes were watery, and I asked him to exit the vehicle, which he did,” Kramer said in the report.
Smith told the officer he’d had the beer 45 minutes earlier, and the officer asked him to blow into a hand-held “intoximeter”. The officer said the lawmaker refused, stating he would prefer to go to a clinic or the hospital to get tested.
The officer told Smith that was done only after an arrest, and that Smith had not been placed under arrest, but Smith “seemed to be having a difficult time understanding what I was trying to explain to him,” the officer said in the report.
The officer said Smith finally agreed to blow into the device. The report stated that Smith blew a .091., which is above the legal limit of .08.
The officer said Smith then told him he’d had a beer 15 minutes earlier, instead of the 45 minutes he had said previously. Smith then allegedly failed a “walk-and-turn” test and a “one-leg-stand” test.
After the tests, Smith was placed under arrested, and two other officers arrived at the scene, according to the police report.
Kramer said that on the way to the city jail, Smith “stated that what had happened was his fault, and that he had been incredibly irresponsible.”
He was given two more breath tests, and Smith blew a .099 and then a .100, “well over the legal limit,” the report said.
Smith was charged with three offenses -- two DUI charges, and the third, failure to obey a traffic control device. He was released on bond. An Atlanta police spokesman said the department would have no comment beyond the police report.
The Republican lawmaker represents parts of Harris, Muscogee and Troup counties. The police report said Smith was neither coming from nor going to any official duties when he was stopped.
In a statement to Channel 2, House Speaker David Ralston's office said, "This is the first the Speaker has heard of this deeply troubling situation involving Rep. Kip Smith. DUI is a very serious charge. The Speaker will look into the matter and gather the facts before offering any further comment on this situation."
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