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ha_martin_garrick.JPGUPDATE 11:23 a.m. to include statements from Martin Garrick, Connie Conway, the California Highway Patrol.

California's former Assembly Republican leader was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after his state car allegedly was observed speeding Wednesday night in downtown Sacramento.

Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach, did not attend today's Assembly floor session but released a written statement, saying that driving after drinking alcohol is dangerous and apologizing for his "lapse of judgment." He was alone and headed home at the time, he said.

"I apologize to my family for the embarrassment I have caused them, and I hope they will forgive me for my actions," he said. "I also apologize to my constituents. They have the right to hold their elected representative to a high standard, and I regret that it was one I failed to meet last night."

"I will strive to never let them down again. Last night's incident was isolated, but it served as a stark wake-up call. I promise my family and my constituents in the 74th District that I will never drink and drive again."

Assemblywoman Connie Conway, a Tulare Republican who replaced Garrick as Assembly GOP leader this year, said she was unaware of the details but "my heart and prayers go out to Mr. Garrick and his family during this difficult time."

"We all understand how serious these situations can be," she said.

California Highway Patrol reports said that Garrick was spotted by bicycle officers traveling north on 11th Street at about 45 mph -- 20 mph over the posted speed -- shortly after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Garrick failed to obey a stop sign at O Street, failed to acknowledge officers who were asking him to stop, and proceeded to make a right turn at N Street and drive into the Capitol basement, said Sean Kennedy, CHP spokesman.

The CHP bicycle officers followed Garrick to the Capitol, observed signs of intoxication, conducted field sobriety and chemical tests, then cited and released the legislator on a charge of drunken driving, Kennedy said.

Kennedy declined to discuss why Garrick was not booked into Sacramento County Jail. He said the law precluded him from elaborating other than to say it had nothing to do with his status as a state official.

Elected to the Assembly in 2006, Garrick will be termed out next year. He served briefly as Assembly GOP leader before stepping down last year.

Garrick's arrest Wednesday came hours after the Legislature approved a state budget, through a majority vote by Democrats, after months of bickering between the state's two major parties. Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed that budget plan today.

PHOTO CREDIT: Then GOP Assembly leader Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach, Feb. 22, 2010 at the Capitol in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file photo



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