Murrieta Mayor Long Arrested After DUI Injury Crash

Story updated at 12:45 p.m. with quotes from Rick Gibbs and confirmation that the four accident victims are female students at Murrieta V...

Story updated at 12:45 p.m. with quotes from Rick Gibbs and confirmation that the four accident victims are female students at Murrieta Valley High School:

Murrieta Mayor Alan Long was arrested on suspicion of DUI in connection with a major injury traffic collision that sent four teenagers to the hospital Thursday night.

According to a press release, Murrieta Police responded to the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Lily Avenue in Murrieta at 8:18 p.m. Officers determined that a truck driven by Long, 44, struck the rear of a passenger vehicle traveling southbound on Jefferson Avenue.

Police said all four occupants of the other vehicle were identified as juveniles with ages ranging from 14-17 years old. All four, who are Murrieta Valley High School students, sustained moderate to major injuries. The juveniles were transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries.

Long, who was the only occupant of the truck, had signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment, police said. He participated in some standardized field sobriety tests, and officers determined that he was in fact impaired.

Long was booked at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta and released on $50,000 bail.

Council member Rick Gibbs said he was told that the four MVHS students are females, which was confirmed by a school official. He said he learned of the incident in a message from City Manager Rick Dudley early Friday morning and later spoke with Long on the phone.

"Alan said he stopped for a piece of pizza and had a glass of wine," Gibbs said. "He then stopped to repair some campaign signs and on the way home, he was involved in an accident."

Gibbs said he wasn't told details of the accident but that the other car was not stopped at a light when struck from behind by Long's truck. Gibbs said Long told him results of his breathalyzer test were under the legal limit.

"He said his breathalyzer was under the legal limit, but he was involved in an accident where alcohol was involved, so the police did what they're supposed to do. They arrested him," Gibbs said. "Alan got out of the car and helped the others over to the curb, then he called police.

"I think we ought to wait and see what happens in the legal process after the results are back from the lab. We should remember that anyone who is arrested is innocent until proven guilty. I've known Alan a long time; I appointed him to the Planning Commission on two different occasions. I've been with him at probably 50 social events, and I've never seen him take a drink."

Gibbs said people should understand that contrary to popular belief, politicians do not get preferential treatment in situations like this.

"People out there are going to say that council members get special dispensation and all that kinda stuff," Gibbs said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. Our city manager has told the police officers that if any council members get in trouble, you need to be harder on them than the average citizen. You don't want any hint of impropriety or special favors.

"Alan Long grew up in this community. He's served for 25 years here. He's a fine mayor who's done a lot of good work here. He said he was not intoxicated and I'm more than willing to take his word for it that he was not intoxicated. But the police followed procedure and took him into custody. We'll have to see what happens in the legal process."


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