New Brighton mayor charged with drunken-driving

Mayor Valerie Johnson was pulled over for speeding and expired tabs.
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Valerie Johnson

The mayor of New Brighton attended a city council meeting on Tuesday night and apologized for her drunk-driving arrest over the weekend. 

"On Saturday night, I was arrested for driving under the influence, with a blood alcohol content of 0.17," Mayor Valerie Johnson said. "There is no question that I was reckless and made a significant error in judgment that night, potentially risking the safety of others and myself. 

"I am ready to accept the consequences of my actions, and I intend to take steps to ensure that I never make this mistake again."

According to a criminal complaint, Johnson has been charged with third-degree DWI after being arrested around 2 a.m. Sunday. She was pulled over on County Road E and Old Highway 8 New Brighton for driving 54 in a 40 mph zone and her November 2018 license tabs were expired. 

The arresting officers noted that Johnson smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot and watery eyes and slurred speech. A preliminary breath test indicated a 0.17 alcohol content, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. 

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Johnson was elected mayor in 2016 and re-elected to a second term last November. Her current term expires Dec. 31, 2020. 

Johnson finished her apology during the city council meeting with the following: 

"I would like to apologize to members of the City Council, our great staff here with the City of New Brighton and the residents of this wonderful community. As Mayor, I hold myself to a high standard of conduct, and I failed to meet that standard on Saturday night. People have a right to be disappointed in my behavior, just as I am, but I hope we can continue to work together and achieve our hopes for the City of New Brighton.

After this meeting adjourns, I will stay around and answer any questions that anyone in attendance has for me. I will also inform members of the Council and city residents once I determine my next steps in addressing my behavior.

For those of you with business before the Council tonight, I apologize for any distraction my announcement will cause – you deserve to have your voices heard."

New Brighton City Council meetings are all available to the public to review and watch back right here

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