On Friday morning in Los Angeles, a California senator was arrested on suspicion of DUI after she allegedly slammed into a parked automobile while saying she lost control of her vehicle after sneezing.
A driver named Wendy Carrillo was reported to have hit two parked cars in the Montecito Heights area of Los Angeles at about 12:20 a.m.
Carrillo, a Democrat, represents California’s 52nd Assembly District and is running against Kevin de León for a seat on the city council.
Witnesses at the scene described hearing a bang from the impact which deployed Carrillo’s airbags and sent her Audi back into the middle of the road.
“We walked out and asked if she was okay, she was hand gesturing like she was all good, thumbs up and stuff,” one witness told ABC 7.
Nobody was hurt in the crash.
“As soon as she got out of the car and started talking to us, it was really clear to me, as a non-expert, that was she was intoxicated,” the witness said. “You could smell alcohol. She was slurring her speech. She was very impaired.”
The 43-year-old lawmaker seemingly lost her balance as officers helped prevent Carrillo from falling over during the field sobriety test, video showed.
Carrillo told the police she sneezed and fell over as she was describing the incident.
“I’m sorry I sneezed and I lost track of the vehicle,” she tells one of the witnesses after she rammed into the cars, according to video obtained by Fox 11.
According to LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz, who was quoted in the LA Times, Carrillo later registered a blood alcohol content that was more than double the legal limit.
According to her jail records with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, she was booked into Los Angeles County Jail shortly after 4 a.m. on Friday and released without bail shortly after 1 p.m.
Carrillo published a statement after her arrest in which she expressed remorse and acknowledged that she is held to a higher standard than others, but she did not address the DUI.
“As a public servant, I am aware that I must adhere to a higher standard that demands personal accountability for my conduct and I accept responsibility for my actions, the statement read. “I sincerely apologize, to my family, constituents, colleagues and staff for any actions of mine that have fallen short of that expectation. I intend to seek the necessary help and support.”
Carrillo was first elected to the state assembly in 2017, becoming the first formerly illegal immigrant to be elected to the state’s lower chamber.
Carrillo’s district, which includes areas of northeastern and eastern Los Angeles and has a mainly Hispanic population, will be redistricted in 2022, and Governor Gavin Newsom has sponsored her reelection campaign.
She is due back in court on Dec. 1.