Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

NOTICE: Word on the Street has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Word on the Street.
Visit the new section.

UPDATE: Tacoma city councilman Mello apologizes for DUI arrest

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Jan. 21, 2013 at 2:58 pm with 31 Comments »
January 22, 2013 6:44 am

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.

Leave a comment Comments → 31
  1. m9078jk3 says:

    Nothing against him personally but I love it when politicians,cops and especially judges are arrested.That’s Karma.
    Hope that he was locked up with the honorable state master Robert Hill

  2. olympicmtn says:

    Let’s ask the obvious what would the average Joe get from the Pierce County Prosecutor vs. Councilman Mello? Mother’s against drunk drivers want to know how accountable our judicial system is in this town.

  3. the3rdpigshouse says:

    One day Tacoma will elect a competent lawful city council – NOT!!!

  4. the3rdpigshouse says:

    When politicians receive equal justice in our sick judicial system, pigs will fly!!!

  5. How quick TNT is in wiping posts out with an update and on a holiday no less!

  6. Looks like he was treated as any other citizen was. Sorry for all you conspiracy nuts who need something to complain about to validate your own self worth.

  7. Mello is not being treated like every other citizen. The average citizen does not get a difficult situation blasted in the press.

  8. He was polite, cooperative and took the test voluntarily. Clearly driving drunk is a major issue, but it is obvious he felt he was within the bounds of a legal level of consumption; oh and by the way, didn’t mention he was a Council member. That is much better than I can say for a number of our distinguished past representation. Mello seems to be a good guy and if there is anyone who comments here who hasn’t made a mistake God help you; your condescension must be intolerable to others.

  9. I’m assuming you meant there were 3 ADDITIONAL occupants of the car?

  10. jollygoodfellow55 says:

    City Councilman Mello has feet of clay like the rest of us. The difference is that when he has a hicup, everyone can read about it here in the TNT. Since he’s an elected official, that’s only fair. However, he should not be treated any differently by our judicial system. We all live in glass houses, so let’s go easy on throwing any stones!

  11. Your article doesn’t mention his political party? That is usually part of the story isn’t it? Are city council members non partisan?

  12. If he was a Republican you would have known..

  13. goldengiven says:

    City Council members are non-partisan. Mello may have a political affiliation as a private citizen but, to my knowledge, he has never been elected to partisan political office.

  14. Thanks for the info. No matter what his affiliation he should be removed from office. Driving under the influence should not be excused, for any reason

  15. @crazy8, well he is up for re- election. Why don’t we let the voters decide? My bet Mello will use this as a wake up call and his council members will circle their wagons around him.

  16. How come the TNT isn’t allowing members to comment on other member’s posts, especially one as juice and controversial as this one. Our own openly gay, local law maker Ryan Mello is driving under the influence and the prosecutor is deciding whether to charge him..

    Can you spell ‘collusion’ anyone?

  17. Westend253 says:

    Wow, reading all of these posts makes me feel lucky I live in a town with so many perfect people!!

    1). It is good to see that Mello was processed the same as anyone would be….since he did not try to use his office for special treatment

    2). He vehicle was impounded the same as it would be for any citizen

    3). The case is being filed with the prosecutor the same as it would be for any citizen.

    4). He admitted to a mistake right away compared to others waiting until they were in court at sentencing

    5) I would hope the TNT would start covering all DUI arrests and printing them like you did with this one.

    This to me reads like a DUI arrest, who just happened to be an elected official.

    TNT, I look forward to reading about your ongoing DUI and Impaired Driving arrests on all citizens….

  18. He’ll get a soft slap on the hand, pay a small fine. End of story…..

  19. Four weeks ago I did not know who Ryan Mello was.
    I can assure you I know a little about Ryan now.
    What I know is that Ryan is a great councilperson. In the few times I have communicated with him he has been honest and forthright in what he can and can not do as a councilperson. Then he diligently did the right thing and represented his constituent to the best of his ability at some cost to himself. I only wish that the other good ol boys would put themselves out like he did for someone he did not know and did not really owe anything to.
    I think by what is described in this story you can see that Ryan did just what he should have done. He put himself in jeopardy believing that he was, as we all should presume, an innocent man. The facts seem to point to his not being as innocent as he thought he was and he owned up to a mistake in a forthright manner. He should be applauded for his courage. And given fair justice for his mistakes.

    Who will cast the first stone? Or maybe we should just start looking for some planks and nails.

  20. MedicintheArmy says:

    Very impressed by this elected officials actions during and after the incident. Prior to, not so much. Drinking and driving is dangerous and some serving the public trust should be very aware that they represent something greater than themselves.

  21. I left one thing out. According to my legal representatives, in Washington State, it costs their clients around 14,000 dollars for a first time dui arrest. They do not take on a case for less than four thousand dollars. Then there are court costs, loss of driving privilege, loss of vehicles, assigned classes, probation costs, not to mention the problem with employment. And a permanent record. of course you could hire a well know seattle attorney who has a 95 per cent success average for dui arrests. But it would still cost you around 14,000 dollars, one way or the other.
    The current laws are no joke. People do not drive impaired in this state.

  22. stradivari says:

    We had a city manager and a county concilman in far worse straits. I am not personally aquainted with Mello, but believe him to be an exceptionally good councilman. Young. Bright. Committed to public service. This one incident should not permanently ruin his credibility. Let the law take its course.

  23. jollygoodfellow55 says:

    Usually those that throw the most stones live in the biggest glass houses! Interesting how that works…….A lot of these comments are quite entertaining. It’s simply amazing how many perfect people are among us. The guy made a mistake. Very fortunately no one was hurt. Now Councilman Mello will have to pay for his offense. It appears that he’s already accepted responsibility and is prepared to pay the consequences for his actions. Sounds reasonable. Even former President Bush and Vice President Cheney each had a DUI on their record. It could happen to anyone and does. Not excusing the behavior and ill advised judgement, but c’mon, everyone lighten up just a bit and let the legal system work! It’s in place for a reason!

  24. I think it is important to know what bar he was coming from, since the city council has a direct connection with businesses in the city. Maybe they have a habit of over-serving the boyz at that establishment but their political donations immunize them.

    There was a bar in Titlow that used to do that a lot but it was well-connected with a certain segment of the North End residents so nothing ever came of it. It’s not there any more IIRC.

  25. serendipity says:

    This is so sad. Ryan is the kindest person. Of all the councilmembers he is the one who genuinely cares.

  26. olympicmtn says:

    Wow speechless the guy a person who should be of higher standards as a public official drvies stinken drunk but hey he was cooperative and didnt spit and swear and oh how cute is the puppy dog, too.

    Diversion by friends.

    Get real drunk drivers kill every day my friend died from a drunk driver. Throw the book at him. Mothers against drunk drivers fought hard for our laws and stop with the puppy dog tales of sympathy..

  27. nonstopjoe says:

    The perp and his friends must have had a gay old time prior to the stop.

  28. sevenstrokeroll says:

    Since his appointment to the council, I have questioned his maturity and experience…this incident sure as heck changes nothing.

  29. Making the Tacomic is hitting the bottom.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0