HONOLULU (KHON2) — Rep. Sharon Har gave a tearful apology at the House Chamber on Wednesday, Feb. 24, days after she was arrested for driving under the influence.
The apology is also raising more questions about the decisions she made that night.
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Har said, she had taken medication with codeine and then had a beer before getting behind the wheel. She apologized to colleagues during the floor session at the State Capitol.
“Mr. Speaker, I want to deeply apologize to you, the members of this body for any embarrassment and shame I caused to you, my colleagues and the institution,” said Har via Zoom.
She said, she had been battling an upper respiratory illness and was working late on Monday, Feb. 22, and decided to have a beer with dinner.
“It’s obvious that that decision coupled with my medication and my long work hours was something that I would regret for the rest of my life,” she said.
Police sources say she was going in the wrong direction on South Beretania Street when she was pulled over. Political analyst John Hart says the incident raises questions about Har’s judgment.
“During COVID this is a person with an upper respiratory disease who went to work rather than Zooming. So you really have to look at the judgment here and question what happened,” said Hart.
It is not clear where Har was when she had dinner and a beer. Her lawyer says he has advised her not to comment any further since the case is pending. Har is credited with toughening DUI laws when she introduced the interlock ignition bill in 2008.
Hart points out that the arrest could be politically damaging — especially if she has aspirations to get elected to a higher office.
“If this is a person who wanted to have an upper trajectory, if she was looking for a bigger job than the one she has now, this definitely puts her a couple of steps back,” said Hart.
Medical experts say this should serve as a warning to those taking medication with any type of sedative to heed the warning label.
“Even if you had half an alcoholic drink half and you had taken some medication that’s prescribed by your doctor and both of them together really would put you over the limit,” said Dr. Tony Trpkovsky of Doctors of Waikiki and NIU Health.