Legislator pleads not guilty to drunken driving charge

VICTOR, N.Y. (AP) — A New York State Assembly member who was accused of drunken driving days after he wrote a column warning against doing just that pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

Brian M. Kolb, R-Canandaigua, pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge during a hearing in Victor Town Court, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.

Kolb crashed his state-owned SUV into a ditch near his home in Victor just before 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve, authorities said. He had consumed four or five cocktails at a restaurant in Pittsford about 15 miles (25 kilometers) away, according to court documents.

A tow-truck driver told police that Kolb blamed his wife for the crash, saying, “You know how women drive.”

On Thursday, Kolb said his comments about his wife were taken out of context and that he was “trying to make light” of the situation.

Authorities said Kolb's blood-alcohol content was 0.16% — twice the legal limit.

Kolb released a statement the day after the crash apologizing for his actions.

“This was a terrible lapse in judgment, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it,” he said.

Kolb has represented the 131st Assembly District just outside of Rochester, New York. He resigned from his position as Assembly minority leader after the crash.

A judge ordered Kolb to undergo a drug and alcohol assessment and suspended his driver's license. He granted the assemblyman a 30-day hardship waiver that will allow him to drive to and from work.

Kolb was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 23.

He declined to further comment on the case as he entered the court Thursday.