State Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, has been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, according to authorities.
Oliveira, chairman of the House Committee on Business and Industry, was arrested Friday night and charged with DWI, a class B misdemeanor, Brownsville jail officials said. Oliveira, who is in a runoff for re-election, was released on $2,500 bail Saturday morning.
"Last night I made a mistake in judgement, and thankfully, no one was injured. I sincerely apologize to my family, friends, colleagues, and most especially to my supporters," Oliveira said in a statement. "I am embarrassed, but grateful no one was hurt."
Oliveira was arrested following a sequence of events that began at 10:22 p.m. Friday, according to police. At that time, officers responded to an accident in Brownsville and found a Cadillac leaving the area, with a Lexus parked behind it. A woman in the Lexus told an officer that "everything was fine and that there was no accident," police said.
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But the officer spotted a third car — a Chevrolet — that was parked on the side of the road. Its driver told police she had been hit from behind by the Cadillac while she was stopped at a traffic light, and the Cadillac's driver subsequently got out of his car, handed her his business card and "told her that he would take care of everything," police said. The card was that of Oliveira, who works as a lawyer.
Officers then went to the lawmaker's home and there discovered both the Lexus and Cadillac, which had damage to its front and two flat tires. That is when Oliveira was arrested, police said.
"In my career I have counseled people who have made similar mistakes, and I remind them that we are all only human," Oliveira said in the statement. "I know that my error in judgement has consequences and I will accept those consequences. I know that I will not be treated any differently than anyone else."
He is currently fighting for re-election. Last month, Oliveira was forced into a May 22 runoff against primary opponent Alex Dominguez, a Cameron County commissioner.