San Jose City Councilman Ash Kalra was arrested early Saturday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. The California Highway Patrol pulled Kalra over on Market Street, south of San Fernando Street, at 1:20 a.m. for a nonworking tail light on his gold Toyota Prius and detected an odor of alcohol coming from him, according to the CHP. Officers performed field sobriety tests, which indicated Kalra was intoxicated, CHP officials said. He was booked into Santa Clara County Jail at 3 a.m. for a misdemeanor DUI, and was later released. In his statement, Kalra said he “made a terrible error in judgment” and admitted to drinking with friends before getting behind the wheel of his car. The District 2 councilman said, “I am fully committed to allowing my mistake to serve as an example for others” and “I will face the consequences.” Kalra’s chief of staff Joseph Okpaku said Kalra will have a court date in the coming months, but he is determined to not let his DUI arrest take away from his City Council duties. “He saw right away the situation can be a distraction from important issues,” Okpaku said. “He came in bright and early this morning. It is the height of budget season here.” Okpaku said this was Kalra’s first alcohol-related incident. Kalra, who was elected to the council in the fall of 2008, said he has spoken to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and his fellow council members. “I expressed to them my sincere apologies for this serious distraction from the very real issues our city faces,” Kalra said. He said Kalra reached out to his colleagues right away, speaking to them personally and privately. “He didn’t want anyone to be blindsided by (the news),” Okpaku said.
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