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Arizona legislator takes leave for rehab

Arizona legislator takes leave for rehab

Groe agrees to treatment after earlier DUI is revealed

Matthew Benson | The Arizona Republic | Mar. 28, 2007 12:00 AM

A state lawmaker arrested last week on suspicion of driving drunk and with an invalid license will take a leave of absence from the Arizona Legislature to complete a 30-day alcohol-treatment program.

Rep. Trish Groe, a Lake Havasu City Republican, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon during a halting, tear-filled address on the Capitol lawn. It came just hours after she was confronted by The Arizona Republic.

She was asked about reports that she had been cited seven years ago in California on charges of driving under the influence and driving with an invalid license.

Groe had previously denied having any prior DUIs when asked by The Republic.

La Paz County Attorney Martin Brannan said he already planned to charge Groe with aggravated DUI, a felony for which conviction would mean ouster from the Legislature.

When notified Tuesday by The Republic of Groe's earlier DUI, he said it would make her ability to plead down to a misdemeanor less likely and could result in more jail time if she's convicted.

Speaking Tuesday, Groe, who was backed by legislative allies and with her husband at her side, apologized to "my husband, my family, my friends and colleagues and, most of all, the constituents who've placed their trust in me. I am ashamed that I've betrayed that trust."

Groe, 37, was pulled over for erratic driving Thursday evening while traveling from Phoenix to her western Arizona home. A La Paz County sheriff's deputy who pulled her over noticed the smell of alcohol in Groe's vehicle and on her breath, according to the police report.

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