State Rep. Arrested for DUI and Gun Charge

Posted on October 16, 2011


Tennessee (Richard Locker-The Commercial Appeal) – State Rep. Curry Todd expressed sorrow Wednesday for his arrest here late Tuesday on charges of drunken driving, possession of a handgun while under the influence and refusing to take a breath test, and he said he will discuss with House leaders whether to step down as chairman of a powerful committee.

The Collierville Republican declined to speak with reporters, but a statement he issued through the House Republican Caucus gave no indication that he’s considering resigning from the southeastern Shelby County seat he has held since 1998. The statement also did not address his plans about seeking an eighth two-year term next year.

When the most recent instance occurred of a Democratic lawmaker being charged with drunken driving and resisting arrest, in 2007, the Tennessee Republican Party chairman and House Republican leaders demanded then-Rep. Rob Briley, D-Nashville, resign his legislative seat. Briley voluntarily gave up his committee chairmanship days after his arrest but remained in the House for the following session and then did not seek re-election in 2008.

In his statement, Todd said: “Let me begin by saying I am deeply sorry for the events of last evening. On the advice of legal counsel, I have decided not to make any public comments about the situation at this time. Upon her return to the Capitol, I will have a conversation with (House) Speaker (Beth) Harwell to determine whether it is in the best interest of the General Assembly for me to step aside as Chairman of the State and Local Government Committee.”

Todd, 63, who worked for years to win approval last year of a law change to allow handgun-carry-permit holders to carry guns into places serving alcohol, was pulled over just before 11 p.m. Tuesday. Nashville police reportedly saw his car weaving, so he was given a field sobriety test and arrested on charges of driving under the influence, possession of a handgun while under the influence and refusing to take a breath alcohol test.

He was released from the Davidson County Jail on $3,000 bond about nine hours after his arrest.   A preliminary court hearing is set for Nov. 1.

According to the arresting officers’ affidavit, officers detected “an obvious and strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle.” Todd, a retired Memphis police officer and former president of the Memphis Police Association, agreed to the officers’ request to step out of his SUV.

“Upon exit, the subject was extremely unsteady on his feet and attempted to lean himself up onto the vehicle,” the affidavit said. “The subject stated that he had ‘2 drinks’ and agreed to perform (field sobriety tests).”

Police subsequently found a loaded .38-caliber pistol in a holster between the driver’s seat and the center console of Todd’s vehicle.

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