Ohio State Rep Sedrick Denson arrested for driving under the influence

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Sedrick Denson arrested
Ohio State Representative Sedrick Denson (right) during a stop by the Ohio State Patrol. Image: Ohio State Patrol

Democratic Ohio State Representative Sedrick Denson was arrested in Columbus early Friday morning for suspected driving under the influence, suspected driving with a suspended license, and suspected felony drug possession.

Sedrick Denson: “I’m a state representative here”

At 2:48am on Friday morning, Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Spencer Large pulled Representative Denson over after seeing him drive erratically on Interstate 670 near Columbus.

The trooper’s dash-cam recording of the incident was posted on YouTube yesterday.

Large: “Where you heading in a hurry?”
Denson: “Not in a hurry. I’m a state representative here.”
Large: “Okay. You passed me like I was sitting still.”
Denson: “Okay.”
Large: “Are you tired?”
Denson: “No.”
Large: “Okay. You were driving outside your lane a few times.”
Denson: “I was coming over, I was following my GPS because I’m not from up here.”

Denson repeatedly referred to his elected office during his early exchanges with the trooper. When Officer Large asked where he was coming from, Denson replied, “Just from my caucus meeting. I’m a Democratic state representative.”

When Large asked Denson if he was carrying a knife or a gun, Denson answered, “I’m an Ohio State Representative with the Ohio House of Representatives.”

“What does that have to do with you having a weapon?,” Large asked.

Assessment for intoxication

Denson claimed he had only had two glasses of wine during a function earlier that evening.

Large administered a series of field sobriety tests. During one, Denson realized the officer suspected him of being over the limit.

“Are you thinking I’m intoxicated or something?” he asked.

“You’re definitely intoxicated, bud. We’re gonna figure out how intoxicated you are,” Large replied.

After the field sobriety test was completed, Denson was asked to place his hands behind his back. He was handcuffed, and his Miranda rights were read to him.

After the arrest of Sedrick Denson

During a search of Denson’s car, Large found a single Adderall pill in a plastic bag. As Denson does not have a prescription for Adderall, a medication used to treat attention deficit disorder, and this was sufficient for him to be charged with felony drug possession.

According to Ohio law, state legislators are prevented from remaining in office after a felony conviction.

Denson declined to take a chemical test during following his arrest.

After the story of his arrest broke on Monday, Sedrick Denson issued the following statement to the media:

“While working in Columbus last week, I made an error in judgment. I decided to drive at night after drinking earlier in the evening. Though I believe I wasn’t impaired, I regret not using greater caution under the circumstances.

“I was pulled over by a State Highway Patrolman for either speeding or for a lane change violation. I performed several tests during the traffic stop at the Trooper’s direction. Although I felt that I was not impaired, I was arrested for driving my car while under the influence. I regret refusing further testing that would have established that I was not impaired.

“The Trooper discovered a single prescription pill that he believed to be Adderall during a search of my car. I am not prescribed and do not use this medicine. The fact that it was in my vehicle is concerning and very serious.

“I am confident that the court process will result in a conclusion that supports these facts. But more than anything, I want to apologize and express my regret to people who feel disappointed by my actions. I share their disappointment. This error in judgment will offer me an opportunity to learn and grow. I want to thank everyone who has supported me or expressed their concern throughout this experience.”

Denson is scheduled to appear in court later today.

Yet another scandal in the Ohio House

A Democrat, Sedrick Denson’s district is largely comprised of Hamilton County in the Cincinnati metropolitan are. He was elected for the first time in the November 2018, receiving over 75% of the vote.

No official comments have been made by either the state Democratic or Republican parties. Late Monday night Hamilton County Republicans tweeted, “Not a great start to this Democrat’s career…”

The incident is just one of a long line of controversies to emerge from the Ohio House of Representatives in the last year. Former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger resigned in 2018 following corruption investigations by the FBI.

During the same House session, now-former Representative Wes Retherford was found passed out in a McDonald’s parking lot with a gun in his car.

In January of this year, Representative Scott Wigan was accused by a former aide of calling her “the good kind of Mexican.”

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