Michael Tucker, president of the Center for Economic Growth, was arrested Friday night after he was allegedly found drunk in his car in the parking lot of Stuyvesant Plaza.
Guilderland police charged Tucker, 58, with aggravated driving while intoxicated and first offense operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. His attorney, E. Stewart Jones, maintains that Tucker had been in his car only to charge his cellphone.
According to an arrest report, Officer Joseph Toroski was on routine patrol when he was notified of two intoxicated motorists sitting inside their vehicles at Stuyvesant Plaza. Tucker was found sitting in a parked 2008 Audi, which had keys in the ignition and a running motor.
During an interview, he gave the appearance of having glassy, watery eyes, impaired speech, impaired motor coordination and an odor of alcohol on his breath, according to the report.
The report says he stepped out of his vehicle before being asked and then performed and failed several sobriety tests, including an alphabet test.
Jones said Tucker was dining out at Creo, located in the plaza, when he needed to make a call but realized his cellphone was dead. He went out to his car and turned it on in order to charge his phone, he said.
“The car was on, but the car was not moving,” said Jones. “But having said that, it’s Michael’s intention to work with the legal system to resolve this fairly and reasonably and to accept the consequences of his conduct. The car was not moving, so no harm, no foul. There was no action, no injury and no one was placed in harm’s way.”
Tucker was taken into custody at Guilderland police headquarters, where he was given a chemical breath test that revealed a blood alcohol content of 0.20 percent. He was processed and released on his own recognizance to appear May 16 in Town Court.
As CEG president, Tucker has a prominent and visible role in Capital Region politics and development. The Albany-based center works as a nonprofit organization to attract and secure business and technology investment throughout an 11-county region.
It is unclear what, if any, action the CEG board will take given Friday’s incident. Request for comment Tuesday was not immediately returned. Jones said he hopes the board would look at Tucker’s “otherwise extraordinary life and dedicated service to the community” when contemplating any action.
“He’s an exceptional human being and this is simply out of character for him,” he added. “But you live with the consequences and choices that you make, and he understands that.”