Councilor O’Brien charged with OUI

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LEWISTON – City councilor and state Rep. Lillian O’Brien of Lewiston has been summoned to court on a charge of drunken driving after a car crash earlier this month.

Police said the 75-year-old Lewiston woman failed a field sobriety test after the April 1 collision at Russell and Sabattus streets.

No one was hurt in the 9 p.m. collision when O’Brien’s car collided with another at the intersection on a Saturday night. Combined damage to the vehicles was estimated at $1,200.

Police investigating the crash said O’Brien appeared intoxicated as she spoke with officers at the scene. After failing to complete the field tests, she was taken to the police department where she was issued a summons.

The longtime Democratic politician is finishing her eighth consecutive year as a state legislator.

She’ll be unable to run after this year because of the term limit law.

Police who charged O’Brien said she was not treated differently because of her status as a representative and a Lewiston city councilor.

“It is not uncommon for us to release someone after summonsing them based on the condition they are in,” said Lewiston police Lt. Tom Avery. “She was treated like anyone else would have been treated under the same conditions.”

Because she was summoned rather than arrested, O’Brien did not go through the booking process at the county jail. Her car was towed from the scene of the crash.

O’Brien did not immediately return a telephone message Friday night.

Kaylene Waindle, communications director at the State House Majority Office, said legislators are not sanctioned for off-duty legal issues.

O’Brien is known for her work with senior citizens, drug coverage and health care. She joined other Lewiston legislators advocating for a cleaner Androscoggin River. She has been supportive of gambling expansion.

If found guilty of driving while intoxicated, O’Brien could be fined and her driver’s license could be suspended. She was ordered to appear in court June 12.

Staff writer Bonnie Washuk contributed to this story.

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