A Hawaii lawmaker blamed her drunken driving arrest Monday night on mixing cough medicine with a beer at dinner, Hawaii News Now reports.

Police said state Rep. Sharon Har was pulled over after driving the wrong direction on a one-way street.

In a statement, Har said that she’d been battling a respiratory illness for several weeks and so had been taking a prescription cough medication with codeine.

She said after after a late evening at work on Monday, she had a beer with dinner.

“This, in conjunction with my medication, contributed to my impaired driving,” Har said, in the statement. “I am extremely sorry for not anticipating the effect of this combination on my driving. I deeply apologize to my constituents, friends, family and colleagues, and to the public for this failure on my part. I would like to express my gratitude to the officers of the Honolulu Police Department for the professional manner in which they conducted their duty in effecting my arrest.”

Rep Sharon Har makes some remarks on the floor.
Rep. Sharon Har speaking in the House chamber in 2019. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Har was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant around 10:20 p.m. Monday. She refused to be tested for intoxication.

The 52-year-old state representative was driving the wrong way on Beretania Street near Piikoi Street. She was released on $500 bail, and is scheduled to make a court appearance April 20.

Har represents District 42, covering Kapolei and Makakilo. She was first elected to the state Legislature in 2006, and has advocated for stricter DUI laws following a personal experience with a drunk driver.

She told constituents in a newsletter that in 2007, she was “hit head-on by a drunken driver in Kapolei.”

Following the incident, she introduced a measure to require anyone arrested for DUI to install an ignition interlock. The bill became law in 2008.

In a statement on Har, House Speaker Scott Saiki called the arrest an “unfortunate incident.”

“We are wishing Representative Har and her family the best right now,” he said.

Not a subscription

Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
 
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
 
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.

About the Author