CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A state representative has been charged with a misdemeanor conduct charge and a violation for negligent driving in connection with leaving the scene of an accident that sent another driver skidding off a highway.

Tony Soltani, R-Epsom, was driving to the Statehouse on Feb. 14. He said he was drinking a diet soda, lost his grip and skidded into a median on Highway 393.

“When I went to lift it, the cover came off and it spilled, and that distracted me,” Soltani told WMUR-TV on Tuesday. “I looked up and I realized that I was drifting to the right so I overcorrected, drifted to the left, and then overcorrected again, and drifted back to the main road and went back to Concord.”

Soltani, chairman of the state’s commission on same-sex unions, said he had no idea anything was wrong until two troopers appeared at his committee room. He’s accused of sideswiping a woman who was driving in the next lane, sending her off the road. She saw his House legislative plate and a campaign bumper sticker on his car and called police.

“I know what I’m supposed to do and this is not the way that I behave, or the way I live my life,” said Soltani, a defense lawyer.

Soltani, who is scheduled to appear on the charges in Concord District Court on May 8, said he called the woman to apologize and offered to pay for repairs. There was a scratch on his car.

AP-ES-04-18-06 1845EDT