A state legislator, arrested for suspicion of drunken driving Monday night near Piikoi and South Beretania streets, after being seen driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street, blames cough medication and beer.
Rep. Sharon Har (D, Kapolei-Makakilo) was arrested at 10:20 p.m., and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, police said. She posted $500 bail and was released.
Har said in a written statement that she has had an upper respiratory illness for several weeks now, and has been taking prescription cough medication with codeine to control the symptoms.
“On Feb. 22, 2021, after a late evening at work, I had a beer with my dinner,” she writes. “This, in conjunction with my medication, contributed to my impaired driving.
“I am extremely sorry for not anticipating the effect of this combination on my driving,” she said. “I deeply apologize to my constituents, friends, family and colleagues, and to the public for this failure on my part.”
The Honolulu Police Department issued a statement that a 52-year-old woman, arrested for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, was observed driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street prior to the arrest.
Her court appearance is set for April 20, HPD said.
From a review of online state court records and judging from her bail amount, it appears this was Har’s first drunken driving charge.
Har further said in her statement: “I would like to express my gratitude to the officers of the Honolulu Police Department for the professional manner in which they conducted their duty in effecting my arrest.
“Above all, I am grateful that no one was hurt.”
House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a written statement: “This is an unfortunate incident. We are wishing Representative Har and her family the best right now.”
Har is an honorary member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, according to her profile on the web site of Bays Lung Rose Voss, a law firm where she is an associate.
On her Hawaii State Legislature page, she wrote on Dec. 27, 2011 that she introduced the ignition interlock law after becoming the victim of a drunk driver in 2007.
She said she “was very pleased when it was finally implemented on Jan. 1, 2011. She wrote at that time that the devices have stopped drivers with a blood alcohol content of more than .02 from driving on more than 3,200 occasions.