State lawmaker arrested on suspicion of DUI was going the wrong way on a one-way street

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — A state lawmaker who played a key role in strengthening drunk driving laws has been arrested for driving under the influence. Police said, Rep. Sharon Har was allegedly going the wrong way on a one-way street when officers pulled her over.

Police arrested Rep. Har just before 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 22.

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Sources say she was going the wrong way down South Beretania Street and tried to turn the wrong way onto Piikoi Street when she was stopped.

The 52-year-old lawmaker representing Kapolei and Makakilo was arrested for Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant. Her bail was set at $500.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii points out that going the wrong way takes drinking and driving to another level of danger.

“She’s very lucky that she didn’t hurt somebody else or herself. I’m sure today she’s realizing how dangerous it was and how foolish,” said Theresa Paulette, MADD Hawaii’s Victim Services Specialist.

Har introduced the interlock ignition bill in 2008, which became law. It required repeat offenders or first-time offenders who are highly intoxicated to have an interlock ignition device in their vehicle. She told KHON2 in 2008 that she wrote the bill because she was hit by a drunk driver one year before.

“As the crash was occuring I kept thinking I was going to die tonight,” said Har in 2008.

“It’s absolutely disappointing and also dangerous. She is a person who truly knows better as she was hit by a drunk driver a few years ago,” said Paulette.

House Speaker Scott Saiki commented on the incident on Tuesday, Feb. 23:

“This is an unfortunate incident. We are wishing Representative Har and her family the best right now.”

House Speaker Scott Saiki

Representative Har says she had a beer after a late evening at work and the drink paired with her prescribed cough medication led to her impairment.

Har released the following statement Tuesday evening:

I have had an upper respiratory illness for several weeks now.  As a result, I have been taking prescribed cough medication with codeine to control the symptoms associated with my illness.  On February 22, 2021, after a late evening at work, I had a beer with my dinner.  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.  I deeply apologize to my constituents, friends, family and colleagues, and to the public for this failure on my part.  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.

Hawaii State Representative Sharon Har

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