Mesa City Council removes Ryan Winkle for DUI conviction

The Mesa City Council voted unanimously to remove council member Ryan Winkle due to his multiple DUI convictions.

Mesa councilman Ryan Winkle will no longer serve on the city council.

The Mesa City Council voted unanimously Thursday to remove Winkle from his seat following Winkle's DUI arrest in Tempe back in May.

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Winkle pleaded guilty to extreme DUI in the traffic stop caught on Tempe police officers' body cameras back in May. It shows Winkle failing a DUI test and Winkle's wife attempting to convince and, at one point, threaten the officers to let Winkle go because he's an elected official.

Winkle held back tears shortly after the special meeting ended when he explained how disappointed he was in the decision.

"It's as fair as it can be I guess," he said. "This is a highly pressurized thing. I'm very disappointed about it."

The remorse was shared by his wife Ericka Varela. She said she wishes she was the one who had been pulled over.

"The last few years have been extremely hard for him," she said, holding back tears, which may be true if you go back far enough.

Winkle pleaded guilty to his first extreme DUI charge back in 2009

He said he learned and grew from that experience.

"I was working in a corporate job and not really caring about civic duty. After that, I completely changed my life," Winkle said, adding it included a healthier lifestyle.

In Thursday's special meeting, during which he was voted off the council, he admitted he has sought therapy and quit drinking alcohol since his recent arrest.

The Mesa City Council voted to move forward with a charge of conduct Winkle in June.

That vote was also unanimous.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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