Police: State Rep. Robin Comey arrested in drunk driving crash near state Capitol
UPDATE: Comey released the following statement Saturday:
"I want to apologize to my constituents, my colleagues in the CT General Assembly, my family and friends for my DUI arrest on Thursday night. After much reflection and with the support of my family, starting today, I will begin treatment to better understand the disease that is addiction and to get the help I recognize I need.
I am deeply grateful in advance to everyone for giving me the time and support I need."
A Connecticut lawmaker “reeked of alcoholic beverages” after a rollover crash just blocks from the state Capitol, according to a police report. The incident comes two years after state Rep. Robin Comey gained national attention for an intoxicated speech on the Connecticut House floor.
Thursday’s crash happened just after 7 p.m. after Comey’s Honda Civic bearing General Assembly plates flipped over on Capitol Avenue, bystanders rushed to pull her out of the vehicle.
“We could distinctly see her inability to stand up straight,” said Amber Binford, who lives nearby.
According to the police report Comey, a Democrat from Branford, "was having a difficult time forming sentences” and allegedly said, “’I was heading home from uh”' followed by a blank stare.” She declined medical treatment, police stated.
After facing three field sobriety tests, Hartford police said Comey’s blood alcohol content registered .1446 – almost double the legal level of .08.
“It was really difficult to watch. She could barely stand on her own two feet,” said Binford. “[She] had balance issues, and then she was handcuffed and walked across the street.”
Before the crash, a House Democrats spokesman said Comey was at Red Rock Tavern, a popular spot with lawmakers, with state Reps. Lucy Dathan (D-Norwalk), Anne Hughes (D-Easton) and Kerry Wood (D-Rocky Hill). News 12 Connecticut reached out to them for comment but has not heard back.
Comey and her attorney also did respond to requests for comment.
In 2021, Comey slurred her words on the House floor, struggling to complete sentences for several minutes. The incident became late night fodder for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and led House Speaker Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) to admonish lawmakers for drinking on the job.
At the time, Comey apologized in a statement:
"I would like to sincerely apologize for my behavior last Thursday night.
That evening, while speaking on H.B. 6558, I suddenly and unexpectedly began to feel unwell. This was due to several factors, including anxiety, exhaustion, and, regrettably, the wine I had with dinner. In an abundance of caution, I did not drive home and remained in Hartford until the following morning.
This type of behavior is not typical for me. I take full responsibility for my error in judgement.
To my Branford constituents, I will continue fighting for you with the same responsibility, respect and commitment as always. I am grateful for your understanding and support."
REACTION AT THE CAPITOL
On Friday, Ritter stripped Comey of her committee assignments and Deputy Whip post, but stopped short of asking her to resign.
“This was an extremely dangerous situation and somebody could have been seriously injured, including Rep. Comey,” Ritter said in a statement. “My immediate reaction is to think about Rep. Comey’s next steps. I hope she focuses on her health and wellbeing and I know that her friends and colleagues will support her in any way we can.”
The House Republican leader echoed Ritter.
“While I’m thankful that Rep. Comey didn’t hurt anyone else or herself in this crash, the stark reality is that this incident could have easily been devastating for her and anyone else on the road last night,” said state Rep. Vin Candelora (R-North Branford). “I wish her well in any endeavor to seek help as she reflects on the seriousness of what transpired.”
Gov. Ned Lamont said he does not believe Comey should step down.
“No, take care of your health,” Lamont said after an event in Ridgefield. “Don't drink and drive. We're going to get very strict on that with some new rules we're proposing to the legislature.”
Lamont is backing a Connecticut Department of Transportation proposal to lower the legal Blood Alcohol Content to .05.
Jay Lederman contributed to an earlier version of this story.