ENLARGE Photo credit: Screen capture of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez post on Twitter State Sen. Ben Hueso (man in the middle) seen in this screen capture. Far left: Hueso police mug shot.
SACRAMENTO, California — A state senator who voted to add hefty regulations to the state’s ridesharing industry was arrested on suspicion of DUI hours later, after California Highway Patrol officers spotted him driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), who some question whether he had a conflict of interest since his brother owns a cab company, has since released a statement apologizing for his “unacceptably poor personal judgment.”
“As someone who cares deeply about the public safety, I sincerely apologize to my family, my constituents and my colleagues in the Senate for breaching the trust they’ve all placed in me,” he wrote.
A spokesperson for the CHP said Hueso was arrested at 2:39 am Friday, about three hours after Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) tweeted a picture of Hueso and other members of the Latino Caucus at the Capitol building. The photo clearly showed Hueso with an untucked shirt and drink in hand.
Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez, a Coachella Democrat, who was at the caucus dinner and at the Capitol celebration, told the Desert Sun that they were drinking wine with the meal, then tequila and wine at the state Capitol. Perez said he took a cab home.
The photo was removed from Gonzalez’ Twitter account without explanation, but the image had already been “screen captured” by the news media. Hueso was also photographed at a Latino Legislative Caucus reception earlier that evening, where wine was served with the meal.
Sources close to the investigation have confirmed that Hueso was driving a state-owned car at the time of his arrest, and various news media have reported that as well.
Officers said he showed “objective signs and symptoms” of being under the influence of alcohol when he was pulled over.
Sacramento County Jail records show that he was booked on two misdemeanor counts relating to driving while under the influence of alcohol. The senator was released from custody just before noon Friday after posting nearly $1,500 bail. His court date has been scheduled for 1:30 pm Tuesday at the Lorenzo Patino Hall of Justice in Sacramento.
Senate President Pro Term Darrel Steinberg has not said whether Hueso would face disciplinary action.
“It’s a lapse of personal judgment and I’m only glad no one was hurt,” Steinberg said, adding he is unhappy with the entire situation.
In his statement, Hueso went onto say he would engage in “immediate, corrective actions to ensure this kind of personal conduct is never repeated.”
A slew of Twitter followers quickly took to the web, posting their thoughts using the hashtag #HuesoNeedsUber.
“When Ben Hueso’s shirt comes untucked, you know that #HuesoNeedsUber,” said Ryan Clumpner, head the Lincoln Club of San Diego County.
Whether the arrest will prompt Hueso to change his stance on California ridesharing programs, however, is not yet clear.
Fox 40’s raw video after state Sen. Hueso leaves jail