MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — The mayor of Murrieta has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after a crash that injured four teenagers, police said Friday.
Mayor Alan Long, 44, was taken into custody around 9:30 p.m. Thursday night on suspicion of DUI resulting in bodily injury, Murrieta police Lt. Ron Driscoll said.
Officers responded to a collision between a pickup and passenger vehicle around 8:15 p.m. at the intersection of Jefferson and Lily avenues, Driscoll said. Both vehicles were driving southbound on Jefferson when Long rear-ended the passenger vehicle, police said, which was carrying four Murrieta Valley High School students ranging in age from 14 to 17 after it slowed down to make a left turn.
Long was arrested after taking breathalyzer and blood tests at the scene. Although he blew a .07, which is under the legal limit of .08, officers determined he was impaired. According to Murrieta’s public-information officer, if a person has any amount of alcohol in his system and seems impaired, he can be taken into custody.
The juveniles, all cheerleaders, sustained moderate to major injuries and were taken to hospitals for treatment. All were expected to survive.
Karen Parris, spokeswoman for Murrieta’s school district, told KCAL9’s Tom Wait that the victims, including sisters Chloe and Camille Rogers, were coming from a pep rally at the time of the accident.
“I think it’s a tragedy for him, for his family and the community,” said Parris.
Long was released Friday morning from the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta after he posted $50,000 bond.
The mayor also works as a fire battalion chief in Orange County. According to Anaheim Fire and Rescue officials, he will not be put on leave during the investigation.
Wait tried to reach Long for comment but was unable to reach him by phone or at his home.
Stacey Butler picked up the story Friday evening.
She said the Murrieta Valley home team took a beating — and some wondered if the students had their injured cheerleaders on their minds.
She spoke to members of the cheer squad who were missing four of their own — Melissa Reynolds with a broken neck.
“It’s hard on our whole school,” said cheerleader Lexi Tudor.”We weren’t as spirited. Everyone was sad.”
“To hear that someone we look up to, like the mayor, did something like that is really hard to accept. ” said Tudor.
Butler spoke with the mayor’s lawyer who said he stayed at the scene, helped all the victims and has spoken to all their parents.
The lawyer told Butler the mayor apologized and expressed deep concern for each of their safety.