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State Assembly Minority Leader Kolb charged with DWI near Rochester; offers 'sincere apologies'

State Assembly Minority Leader Kolb charged with DWI near Rochester; offers 'sincere apologies'

State Assembly Minority Leader Kolb charged with DWI near Rochester; offers 'sincere apologies'
Assemblyman Brian Kolb
Photographer: Assemblyman Brian Kolb (inset); Shutterstock (background)

ALBANY — State Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb announced in a statement that he was charged Tuesday night with driving while intoxicated.

Kolb, R-Canandaigua, has represented the 131st Assembly District since 2000. His district covers an area between Syracuse and Rochester that includes Geneva, Seneca Falls and Canandaigua. He has been minority leader since 2009.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported Wednesday morning, citing an Ontario County Sheriff's Office press release, that Kolb was arrested after a property-damage crash in Victor just before 10:30 p.m. New Year's Eve. Victor is between Rochester and Canandaigua.

According to the release, also obtained by The Daily Gazette, Kolb, 67, was arrested after an investigation and charged with driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 percent. He was also cited for unsafe turn. No one was injured in the crash.

Kolb was released to appear in court later.

Kolb's arrest comes almost two weeks after he devoted a weekly column on his Assembly site to the topic of driving safely over the holidays.

"December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month," he wrote in the Dec. 20 post, "and its message is important: do not operate a vehicle if your ability to do so is impaired. Drunk driving is not only dangerous to the driver, but to vehicle passengers, bystanders and other drivers. Please consider the ramifications of impaired driving, especially as we prepare to close out 2019 and welcome in a new decade."

"There is no excuse for impaired driving," Kolb's column continues at another point. "Here in New York, we have taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and a robust public transportation system. Please, use these services, or a sober, reliable designated driver when making your way about town."

Kolb issued a statement Wednesday morning and obtained by Gazette news-gathering partner CBS6.

"Last night, I was charged with driving under the influence near my home," Kolb's statement read. "This was a terrible lapse in judgement, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it.

"I want to offer sincere apologies to my family, friends, colleagues, and the people of the 131st Assembly District. I fully recognize the severity of the situation and I am profoundly sorry," Kolb's statement continued.

"There is no excuse or justification for what occurred Tuesday evening. I made the wrong decision, and it is one I deeply regret," Kolb's statement concludes.

In the Capital Region, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, issued a statement concerning Kolb's arrest and called for Kolb to leave his leadership post.

"Elected officials who commit serious crimes such as drunk driving should not remain in leadership posts," Santabarbara said. "Assemblyman Kolb should immediately resign as Minority Leader, show he takes full responsibility for his DWI arrest. All Assembly members should support a call for resignation."

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