Third DUI arrest for mayor
By Howard Yune/Appeal-Democrat
Last weekend's arrest of Colusa Mayor Thomas P. Reische on suspicion of drunken driving was his third in a little more than a decade.
Reische's arrest Saturday morning was his second in Colusa County, court records show. After his arrest in Colusa on Aug. 17, 1996, he pleaded guilty to driving with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent and was sentenced to three years' probation.
Eight years later, Reische's driver's license was suspended for a year after a DUI-related arrest in Illinois, said Mike Miller, a spokesman for the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Reische regained his license in April 2005.
A call Tuesday to Reische's cell phone was not immediately returned. His home number was disconnected.
As a second-time offender in the last 10 years, according to Miller, Reische would again lose driving privileges for a year and be forced into an alcohol treatment program for 18 months.
The mayor has 10 days from the arrest date to request a DMV hearing to preserve his driving privileges. The agency can impose its own punishments for driving under the influence regardless of the outcome of a criminal case, Miller said.
In the latest incident, a Williams policeman detained Reische on Highway 20, reportedly after the second-term councilman had left a party at a nearby restaurant. He was taken to the Colusa County Jail, after police said breath tests showed a 0.15 blood-alcohol percentage, and was released about seven hours later.
A decade ago, a Colusa police officer stopped Reische's pickup on 12th Street. His blood-alcohol percentage measured at least 0.20 when he was arrested, prosecutors alleged in court documents.
Two months later, in November 1996, Reische was sentenced to probation, fined $1,060 and ordered to enter a program for first-time DUI offenders.
District Attorney John R. Poyner, said he will recuse himself from the new case because Reische's wife, Sharon, works in his office. In Poyner's absence, the state Attorney General's Office would take over prosecution.
A Colusa city councilman just starting his second term, Reische was awarded the mayor's post on Dec. 5 by a vote of council members.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Howard Yune can be reached at 749-4708. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.