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    Monday, February 26, 2024

    State Rep. Comey issues public apology following DUI arrest

    State Rep. Robin Comey issued a public apology on Saturday, following her arrest for alleged drunken driving on Thursday night.

    “I want to apologize to my constituents, my colleagues in the CT General Assembly, my family and friends for my DUI arrest on Thursday night,” Comey said in her statement.

    “After much reflection and with the support of my family, starting today, I will begin treatment to better understand the disease that is addiction and to get the help I recognize I need,” she wrote.

    Comey, a 55-year-old Democrat, was arrested on drunken driving charges following a car crash near the state Capitol in Hartford, officials said.

    Comey had been driving her Honda Civic with legislative plates with the number “102,” which shows that she represents her hometown of Branford, when her car flipped over and landed upside down on its roof Thursday night on Capitol Avenue between Lawrence and Babcock streets, according to police.

    The crash happened within walking distance of the Legislative Office Building, and those leaving the Capitol complex could see the flashing lights nearby as the crash prompted a large police and Fire Department presence after 7 p.m. Thursday. Multiple police cars were parked near the busy intersection of Capitol Avenue and Flower Street near the well-known Red Rock Tavern.

    Comey was handcuffed at the scene by Hartford police following two field sobriety tests. Comey’s handcuffing by Hartford police was captured by a television camera from FOX 61, which has its newsroom entrance around the corner in a building on Flower Street, and a witness on Capitol Avenue took a video that showed a bystander helping Comey out of her overturned car after opening the driver’s side door for her.

    The next day, she was removed from all legislative committee assignments, top lawmakers said.

    House Speaker Matt Ritter of Hartford said Friday that Comey, an assistant majority whip, had been removed from all of her leadership assignments until further notice.

    “This was an extremely dangerous situation, and somebody could have been seriously injured, including Rep. Comey,” Ritter said. “My immediate reaction is to think about Rep. Comey’s next steps. I hope she focuses on her health and wellbeing, and I know that her friends and colleagues will support her in any way we can.”

    A report by Hartford police states that Comey had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.144 and then 0.140 on the second test. The standard for being charged with driving while intoxicated is 0.08 or higher.

    The report states that Comey “reeked of alcoholic beverages and could not stay focused when being spoken to.”

    Comey told Officer Travis Greeley, who is a certified instructor in field sobriety tests, that she had been at a nearby restaurant but would not say which one, according to Greeley’s three-page report. She declined to say what had happened, adding, “I don’t know. I was heading home.”

    Comey was also in the news in June 2021 after having difficulty speaking during a debate on the floor of the state House of Representatives. Her halting remarks stopped the debate and fellow colleagues rushed to her aid.

    “I would like to sincerely apologize for my behavior last Thursday night,” Comey said in a written statement at the time. “That evening, while speaking on H.B. 6558, I suddenly and unexpectedly began to feel unwell. This was due to several factors, including anxiety, exhaustion, and, regrettably, the wine I had with dinner.”

    Comey said she did not drive home that night “in an abundance of caution” and remained in Hartford until the following morning.

    “This type of behavior is not typical for me,” Comey said. “I take full responsibility for my error in judgment.”

    Comey’s apology in 2021 came after Ritter, a Hartford Democrat, issued a strong public statement against drinking when the legislature is in session.

    Following the incident in 2021, Comey ran for re-election and won in November 2022.

    “I am deeply grateful in advance to everyone for giving me the time and support I need,” Comey said in her statement issued Saturday.

    Reporting by Courant Capitol Bureau Chief Chris Keating is included in this story.

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