Mississippi legislator found guilty of drunken driving

| 8/11/2004

A Mississippi state lawmaker was found guilty of driving under the influence Monday, Aug. 9, in Lafayette County, MS, Justice Court.

Sen. Tommy Robertson, R-Moss Point, was fined $623.50 and ordered to complete an alcohol safety program.

University of Mississippi police officers arrested Robertson last September after he failed a field sobriety test following an accident shortly after midnight at the Alumni Hotel in Oxford, MS.

Robertson, 49, was returning to the hotel following the Ole Miss-Texas Tech football game, when the accident occurred.

The drunken driving conviction is not Robertson’s first. In 1997, he pleaded guilty to DUI in Biloxi, MS. He said then that he had been in Biloxi watching football with friends and was stopped on his way home to Moss Point.

Officers testified Monday that Robertson’s eyes were red and dilated, his speech was slurred and he had difficulty walking. He also tested positive for alcohol on a portable breath test.

Robertson has served in the state Senate since 1992.

Meanwhile, Minnesota state Rep. Tom Rukavina pleaded guilty Aug. 6 to drunken driving.

Rukavina, 54, entered the guilty plea to fourth-degree driving while impaired before Sixth District Judicial Judge Gary Pagliachetti in the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia, MN.

The Democratic-Farmer-Laborer from Virginia was pulled over about 1:30 a.m. July 31, when he was seen driving erratically on U.S. Highway 169 in Mountain Iron, MN. He took a blood-alcohol test at the county jail and registered 0.15 percent.

Rukavina received a sentence of two years probation. He was ordered to pay a $500 fine and a $60 surcharge, which he paid after his sentencing.

Rukavina has served in the state House since 1986. He is being opposed in the Nov. 2 general election by Republican Gerald Williams of Gilbert.