Veteran Texas State Representative René Oliveira was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated by Brownsville police Friday. The Democratic politician drove away from the scene as officers arrived, and was later arrested that night at his home.
“Everything was fine and that there was no accident”
A Brownsville Texas police officer responded to an accident report after 10pm local time on Friday night. Upon arriving the officer saw a Cadillac leaving the area, having recently been parked next to a silver Lexus. When officers questioned the woman in the Lexus said, “Everything was fine and that there was no accident,” before driving off herself.
The police officer then noticed a Chevrolet Cruze nearby. The woman driving the Chevrolet claimed she had been struck from behind by the Cadillac at a traffic light. Following the accident, an official statement says the driver of the Cadillac approached the woman and “gave her a business card and told her that he would take care of everything.”
According to the Texas Tribune, this was the business card of René Oliveira, who besides being a Texas State Representative is also a local Brownsville attorney.
Police pulled up a Facebook profile photo of Oliveira, which police say the driver of the Chrevrolet identified as belonging to the driver of the Cadillac.
Meanwhile, at the home of René Oliveira
According to Brownsville Police, officers were then dispatched to the home address of Representative Oliveira. Upon arriving at his house they saw parked in the driveway the dark-colored Cadillac that had been seen driving away from the scene, which had suffered damage to its front and two flat tires.
According to a statement issued by the department, “Officers made contact with Mr. and Mrs. Oliveira and after further investigation, Mr. Oliveira was placed under arrest for DWI(accident).”
Oliveira was released on $2,500 bond the following day. In a statement he said, “Last night I made a mistake in judgement, and thankfully, no one was injured. I sincerely apologize to my family, friends, colleagues, and most especially to my supporters. I am embarrassed, but grateful no one was hurt. In my career I have counseled people who have made similar mistakes, and I remind them that we are all only human.”
He continued, “I know that my error in judgement has consequences and I will accept those consequences,” he said. “I know that I will not be treated any differently than anyone else.”
Under pressure legally and electorally
There have been no official calls for René Oliveira to resign following Friday night’s incident, but the fallout will no doubt make the veteran lawmaker’s reelection fight even more difficult.
Originally elected to the Texas State Senate in 1980, and has served in the Texas State House since 1991. As one of the more senior legislators in Austin, Oliveira is chairman of the Business & Industry Committee, and a member of the State Affairs Committee.
But despite his entrenched position at the State Capitol, René Oliveira is facing a runoff on May 22nd against Alex Dominguez after just falling short of 50% in a three-way initial Democratic primary.