Thursday, February 25, 2010

Walzer says she submitted to breath test prior to DUI arrest

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Pam_Walzer.jpg

Questions swirled Thursday after news broke that Missoula City Councilwoman Pam Walzer was arrested early Wednesday morning for driving under the influence. It was her first offense.

Walzer pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges during an initial appearance in Missoula Municipal Court Wednesday. When reached at home Thursday, the Ward 2 councilwoman told the Independent that she did comply with a breath test and is asking the results be made public. (A call to Walzer's lawyer, Lance P. Jasper, has yet to be returned.) She won’t immediately comment further, but will issue a statement within the next several days.

“They’ve advised me to stay mum for a little while,” she said. “On Monday, at the latest, you’ll hear what I have to say about it."

Walzer's arrest coincides with an ongoing City Council discussion over how to strengthen DUI charges in Missoula. A current proposal would make refusal of a Breathalyzer or drug test a misdemeanor within city limits punishable by a $300 fine.

Dave Strohmaier, the author of the proposed ordinance, says he received a call from Walzer about the arrest before it became public.

“It definitely hits close to home,” said Strohmaier Thursday, adding that she called other council peers, as well.

As the city gets tough on drunk driving, Strohmaier says Walzer’s arrest illustrates the pervasiveness of the problem. “It just cuts across all of society,” he says.

He adds he’s giving Walzer the benefit of the doubt until details come forward.

“I remain committed to the premise of innocent until proven guilty," he says.

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