Dominick J. Ruggerio, the majority leader of Rhode Island’s state Senate, released this statement late yesterday after he was arrested for drunk driving early Wednesday morning, March 28, in Barrington.
"Last evening the vehicle I was driving in Barrington was pulled over by the Barrington Police. I declined a breathalyzer test.
"I accept full responsibility for my actions last evening and regret how this may impact my family, my constituents, my colleagues and the Senate. I look forward to resolving this matter and continuing to serve my constituents as vigorously as I have for the past 32 years."
Ruggerio, 63, of North Providence, who represents a North Providence-Providence district, also refused to submit to a chemical test, according to Barrington police.
A Barrington police report said a "concerned citizen" called police about a car driving erratically on Wampanoag Trail near Vitullo Farm just after midnight, according to WJAR-TV.
"Ruggerio said he was following a friend to a woman's house and that he was coming from a benefit in Providence," accordin to WJAR. He admitted to drinking earlier in the night, according to the police report.
Ruggerio failed field sobriety tests and had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, according to the police report.
A separate story on WPRI-TV said: "Ruggerio stopped his car, a black Buick sedan, in the middle of the road instead of pulling over to the side and later failed a field sobriety test, according to the arrest report. Patrolman Walter Larson, the arresting officer, said Ruggerio had bloodshot, watery eyes, "heavily slurred speech," "a strong odor of consumed alcohol" on his breath and swayed from side to side."
Larson described Ruggerio for WPRI-TV as "polite, cooperative and apologetic" while being booked at the police station. He was arraigned by a justice of the peace and released on $1,000 personal recognizance around 3:30 a.m. He has an April 4 District Court date.
Ruggerio also was arrested in 1990 for allegedly stealing condoms from a CVS, according to WJAR-TV. He was not prosecuted.
Ruggerio is serving his 14th term in the state Senate.