Nebraska State Senator Mike McDonnell did not reference his first-offense arrest on suspicion of DUI, as he apologized Thursday on the floor of the legislature to his family, constituents, and colleagues.
The Nebraska State Patrol arrested the Omaha senator early Thursday on misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and refusing to submit to a test. He was also cited for failure to stay in a lane. The DUI charge is the first offense.
McDonnell, 52, was stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol on Interstate 80 and booked through the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office at 12:52 a.m. Thursday.
As a state senator, McDonnell’s prosecution will be delayed until the session ends in mid-April. He was released shortly after 2 a.m.
“Last night, I was pulled over for not maintaining my lane on Interstate 80,” McDonnell told fellow lawmakers.
But McDonnell stopped himself as began to describe the incident.
“The trooper was professional. He was polite. I refused…”.
McDonnell changed the direction of his comments to note senators are held to a higher standard and should not make decisions that affect their districts or state negatively.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and the decisions I make,” said McDonnell.
“I apologize to my wife and son, the people of my district, and the members of the legislature which I’m honored and proud to serve in,” he said.
In addition, McDonnell is a Gross High and the University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Bellevue University. McDonnell served 6 years as Omaha fire chief, and a total of 24 years as an Omaha firefighter, including 10-years as union president.
He was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2016 representing South Omaha’s district 5.