Arrested Mesa councilman has previous extreme DUI conviction

This is the kind of driving that kills bicyclists…

(police) observed the driver swerving within his lane and nearly striking the curb several times

And pedestrians. And motorists. Drunk driving continues to be a significant factor in traffic fatalities and injuries. In Arizona, 272 of the 893 fatalities (30%) last year involved a driver who was legally drunk (BAC 0.08 or above). If it’s any consolation, nationally the figure is 29%.

photo: Mojave Valley The Daily News

The sedan driver who killed Robert Dale Fox II last week in Bullhead city struck him from behind in a sixteen foot wide lane; she was arrested on suspicion of 2nd degree murder and DUI.



It’s sortof interesting that the Mesa Councilman refused the breathalyzer. That causes an automatic administrative license suspension (due to “implied consent” laws). Anyway, the results of the blood draw will be interesting.

Arrested Mesa councilman has previous extreme DUI conviction
Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence early Sunday after a Tempe officer spotted a car swerving and abruptly braking on Baseline Road, had a previous extreme DUI conviction in 2008, court records show… Just before 1 a.m., a police officer saw a car approaching a red light at Kyrene Road at a fast rate of speed, according to a police report… Three pedestrians in the crosswalk jumped out of the way as he approached, “as it seemed the vehicle was not going to stop,”… The officer followed the car for about a quarter-mile and observed the driver swerving within his lane and nearly striking the curb several times, according to the report… When the officer pulled over the car, Winkle denied he had been drinking…

Winkle spent a month in jail in 2009 after pleading guilty to an extreme DUI charge, according to Scottsdale court records. According to a December 2008 police report, an officer observed Winkle drive recklessly and nearly cause a collision near Scottsdale and Indian School roads.

Body Cam Video

Police released body cam video of the stop and arrest. My un-professional impression of the field-sobriety tests is he was certainly not falling-down drunk. The bombshells in the video were all his wife’s statements, things like:

“I mean I don’t think either one should be driving anyways,”
“I mean is that the best thing you guys can do, like arrest a council that’s like supporting the police and fire?”
“I also know he shouldn’t have been driving or drinking, but are you guys going to arrest him?”
“Well maybe we need to talk about that because he is the only person that supports you guys on council,”

Sentencing and Aftermath

The plea deal he took was a bit intricate; he was allowed to plea guilty to the slightly lesser charge of extreme DUI (as opposed to super-extreme, which his blood at 0.22 showed he was). His sentence is 110 days… which of course sounds like a lot of course; but just 6 days in jail and 49 to be served in “home detention” (whatever that means exactly?), and 55 days are suspended. The news report does mention the window for enhancing the sentence due to his prior DUI had passed, the most is 7 years lookback and his prior extreme DUI was 8 years.

I didn’t bother checking online, this was in Tempe municipal court so I doubt any of the documentation is readily available.

The aftermath involves what the mesa city council might do to him/his seat; some dirt already surfaced, The mesa city council is set to do something at Aug 31 meeting.