State senator offers apologies after DUI stop

Published: Feb. 8, 2018 at 8:59 AM CST
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Nebraska State Senator Mike McDonnell offered apologies to his colleagues, constituents, and family Thursday after being booked earlier in the morning on suspicion of DUI.

"My decisions were selfish last night. I believe the state trooper was professional and polite. I’m here not to represent myself, I’m here now to represent the people and the state of Nebraska," said McDonnell.

McDonnell, 52, was booked early Thursday morning after a Nebraska State Patrol traffic stop.

According to Sarpy County jail information, he was booked shortly before 1 a.m. for:

  • DUI - 1st Offense
  • Refusal to submit to test - 1st offense
  • Refusal to submit to pretest
  • Failure to stay in lane

McDonnell was released after posting bail. He says a number of senators showed great support.

“When you make a mistake you own up to that mistake, you try to learn from that mistake and you move forward. I believe the support I had this morning when I apologized to my fellow senators was overwhelming,” said McDonnell.

As the legislature convened Thursday he asked to say a few words and he told his fellow lawmakers, "We are held to a higher standard. I'm not here to represent myself. We should not make decisions that would affect our district or the state negatively. I take full responsibility for my actions and the decisions I make. But I also need to apologize to this body for making a decision that was more about me than the people I'm representing in my district and the great state of Nebraska."

He told lawmakers, "I also want to apologize to my wife and son and the people of my district and the members of the legislature which I'm honored and proud to serve."

McDonnell was elected in 2016 to the District 5 seat representing South Omaha in the legislature. Prior to that he worked in the Omaha Fire Department for 24 years and served as chief for six years.

As a member of the state legislature, any court action in the case against McDonnell will have to wait until the current session is over.

McDonnell told reporters, “I will meet and talk to whoever in the system, and we will go through the process.”

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov told 6 News, "When the facts and circumstances are in we will make decisions based on what we know. In the meantime, as long as the Legislature is in session the process has stayed."

Polikov said McDonnell's first appearance would be an arraignment, "which is usually 4 to 6 weeks from date of citation or arrest. So we will likely reset that a couple of weeks forward."

He said the final decision on that won't be made until reports are in.

Nebraska Constitution

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