Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle taking leave of absence after DUI arrest

Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle apologized Wednesday for his DUI arrest last week, beginning a leave of absence.

MESA, Ariz. - The Mesa city councilman arrested last week on suspicion of his second DUI asked the council to accept a leave of absence Wednesday afternoon.

Councilman Ryan Winkle was pulled over in Tempe early on the morning of May 7 and failed field sobriety tests, according to police documents. He declined a breathalyzer test and, after his arrest, had blood drawn to be processed and tested for alcohol content.

The results of those tests have yet to be released.

According to the city council's agenda for its Thursday morning  meeting, council members are preparing to discuss a request from Winkle for voluntary suspension. The council could also decide to remove him entirely.

Winkle said at the Wednesday afternoon press conference that he and his wife had entered family counseling and that he had made hundreds of phone calls over the last week and a half to Mesa residents and his supporters apologizing for his behavior.

“From the core of my being, I apologize,” he said. “I have been overwhelmed with guilt.”

The Mesa city councilman is remorseful.

“I could’ve hurt my wife Erika who is with me, mi amor,” he said before kissing his wife standing by. “I'm very sorry.” 

“Thinking about my son not having a mother because of my actions tortures me in my sleep,” said Winkle. 

Court documents revealed that this was not Winkle's first DUI arrest -- he was convicted in 2009 of DUI related to a late-2008 incident.

“I didn’t have the knowledge or the resources to seek any kind of help and, and now I’m admitting that I’m doing that,” he said of the prior arrest.

As for his wife Ericka, she’s defending her actions during the traffic stop, all caught on camera.

“I just couldn’t see him in handcuffs,” she said. “I wanted to protect him.”

Winkle’s pretrial conference is slated to happen in about a month. Mesa Mayor John Giles says the council will discuss the situation during Thursday's regularly scheduled study session. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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