Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo arrested for DUI after crashing into parked car in LA

Carrillo is currently vying for a seat on the L.A. City Council held by Kevin de León.

ByMichelle Fisher and staff KABC logo
Saturday, November 4, 2023
CA assemblymember blames sneeze for crash that led to DUI arrest
California Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after a car crash in Los Angeles, and cell phone video from the scene details what happened.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after a car crash in Los Angeles, and cell phone video from the scene details what happened.

The crash occurred just after midnight Friday on Monterey Road near Montecito Heights, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Carrillo, who is currently running against Kevin de León for a seat on the L.A. City Council, crashed into several parked cars and the street curb. No injuries were reported.

A witness who spoke with ABC7 said he was visiting friends in the area when his vehicle was hit.

"Very loud, huge bang, and then heard like skidding," he described. "There's crashes that happen right here all the time, so we knew right away that it was for sure a car crash."

He recalled seeing Carrillo inside her vehicle in the street.

"As soon as we looked out the balcony, you could see her Audi was in the middle of the street, and airbags deployed, and she was in there and you could see her moving and stuff. We walked out and asked if she was okay, she was hand gesturing like she was all good, thumbs up and stuff. As soon as she got out of the car and started talking to us, it was really clear to me, as a non-expert, that was she was intoxicated. You could smell alcohol. She was slurring her speech. She was very impaired."

However, in cell phone video taken during the arrest, Carrillo tells officers a different story.

"Miss, you were driving this Audi?" the officer asked.

"Yes," Carrillo responds.

"What happened?"

"I'm sorry. I sneezed and lost track of the vehicle," said Carrillo.

In another video obtained by Eyewitness News, you can see LAPD officers conducting field sobriety tests. At one point, Carrillo loses her balance and nearly falls. Officers had to help her stand during the tests.

Another video captures one responding officer explaining to a witness why chose to complete the tests privately.

"LAPD has a policy of being fully transparent with the public. It was brought to my attention that this person is an elected official in the state senate. So sometimes, for people that are considered to be, for lack of a better term, dignitary. We allow them to do the investigation in a private area. It does not change the fact that she has been drinking. She has been involved in a crash."

WATCH | LAPD officer speaks with witness on scene of Wendy Carrillo DUI crash

One responding officer is heard explaining to a witness why they have chosen to complete the tests privately.

According to Chief Michel Moore, the officers' actions "do not appear to be inappropriate."

"A critical aspect of a field sobriety test is to provide a reasonable location for the individual being examined to evaluate impairment without obstruction or distraction," read a statement released Friday. "The officers conducting the investigation are given the discretion to perform the test at a location that best affords the evaluation of the individuals in an objective manner."

Meanwhile, Carrillo also released a statement, apologizing for her actions.

"As a public servant, I am aware that I must adhere to a higher standard that demands personal accountability for my conduct and I accept responsibility for my actions. I sincerely apologize to my family, constituents, colleagues and staff for any actions of mine that have fallen short of that expectation. I intend to seek the necessary help and support. As I do so, I remain dedicated to my family, my constituents and the community that I grew-up in and am proud to represent."

The 43-year-old was released without bail.