The Washington State Patrol arrested Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello early Sunday morning on suspicion of drunk driving.
In a brief e-mail sent to The News Tribune late Monday afternoon, Mello wrote, “I made a mistake and I’m sorry.”
A trooper observed Mello cross onto the shoulder twice before stopping his silver 2012 Hyundai Sonata at 12:06 a.m. near the Interstate 5-Interstate 705 interchange, patrol spokesman Guy Gill said. There were three passengers in the car.
Gill said Mello was “polite and cooperative” and voluntarily submitted to field sobriety tests. The trooper smelled alcohol on Mello’s breath, and the councillman admitted drinking alcohol earlier. At no time did Mello identify himself as a councilman, Gill said.
Mello was placed under arrest and taken to the Tacoma Police Department for processing. Gill said Mello’s blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.
The State Patrol’s arrest report was unavailable Monday due to the holiday, the spokesman said.
A friend came to pick up Mello after he was released from the police department.
Mello’s car was impounded. Another trooper took two of the passengers home. The third passenger rode with the tow truck driver.
UPDATE: Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Monday that because he and Mello are friends, he will forward the case to a prosecutor in another county for a charging decision.
Mello, executive director of the Pierce Conservation District, is beginning his second year on the Tacoma City Council.
You’re invited to follow Christian Hill on Twitter @TNTchill.