A state lawmaker representing Cincinnati has been charged with driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and felony possession of a controlled substance for driving after drinking two glasses of wine and possessing a single pill of the attention deficit drug Adderall.
State Rep. Sedrick Denson, a Democrat from Bond Hill, was on Route 670 outside Columbus returning from a fundraiser there early Friday when an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper pulled him over for speeding and a lane-change violation. During the stop, the officer administered multiple field sobriety tests that he says Denson failed. Denson declined to take a chemical test.
"Although I felt that I was not impaired, I was arrested for driving my car while under the influence," Denson said in a statement yesterday evening. "I regret refusing further testing that would have established that I was not impaired."
The officer also discovered a single pill in Denson's car and identified it as Adderall. Possession of the drug without a prescription can be a felony. Ohio state law prohibits convicted felons from serving in the General Assembly.
“The Trooper discovered a single prescription pill that he believed to be Adderall during a search of my car," Denson said in the statement. "I am not prescribed and do not use this medicine. The fact that it was in my vehicle is concerning and very serious."
In addition, Denson's license was suspended last month after he was cited for failure to register another vehicle he owns, leading to the driving under suspension charges. Denson will appear in court Thursday on the charges. Prosecutors say the misdemeanor and felony cases could be combined.
Denson replaced term-limited fellow Democrat State Rep. Alicia Reece after winning the seat representing Ohio's 33rd District last November. Prior to his time in the General Assembly, he was chief of staff for Cincinnati City Council member Wendell Young.
"I am confident that the court process will result in a conclusion that supports these facts," Denson's statement says. "But more than anything, I want to apologize and express my regret to people who feel disappointed by my actions. I share their disappointment. This error in judgment will offer me an opportunity to learn and grow."