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Ironton mayor apologizes for DUI arrest

Raceland, Ky. police chief says mayor failed field sobriety test

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship is apologizing to his family and his constituents after being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol early Sunday morning in Kentucky.

Blankenship was pulled over at 1:54 a.m. while traveling southbound on U.S. 23. He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of DUI and a traffic violation of careless driving. Blankenship posted a $1,000 bond after he was brought to the Greenup County Detention Center.

Contacted on his cell phone Sunday evening, Blankenship said he had been in Wurtland, Ky., visiting with a high school friend he had not seen in several years. Blankenship said he consumed a “few beers” but didn’t feel that he was intoxicated.

While driving home, Blankenship was pulled over by Officer John Eric Ross of the Raceland, Ky., Police Department after the officer observed Blankenship cross the outside lines of the roadway more than 10 times, according to the citation.

Blankenship drove for more than a half mile before pulling over and Ross used his siren three times, according to the documents filed with the Raceland Police.

“I felt like I was okay to drive,” Blankenship said. “I was by myself. But he felt he had probable cause.”

Raceland Police Chief Don Sammons said Monday morning the report on the incident has not yet been completed.

Sammons said the citation states that, when Ross approached the vehicle, he smelled alcohol and that Blankenship’s eyes were “watery and bloodshot and his speech was slurred.”

Sammons said Ross and another officer performed a field sobriety test, which Blankenship failed. Ross then took Blankenship to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, Ky., where Blankenship refused a blood alcohol test, according to the citation.

The mayor said he has a mid-August court date on the matter.

“If I am found guilty I will accept the consequences,” Blankenship said. “I apologize to my family and to the citizens of Ironton. I thought I was OK to drive home. Evidently the officer didn’t think so. I did cooperate fully with the officer.”