The mayor of this Southern California city announced his resignation Monday in the wake of his arrest for an alleged drunken-driving crash that injured four cheerleaders.
Alan Long said he would step down from the City Council but only for the current term and he intends to seek a council seat in the Nov. 4 election.
Long, 44, said that he expected to be exonerated of wrongdoing but he wanted to avoid “even one hint of impropriety” during the legal process.
Long is retaining his job as a battalion chief with the Anaheim Fire Department while the investigation continues.
Long’s pickup truck rear-ended a car stopped at an intersection Thursday night, police said. The car was carrying high school cheerleaders and four of them, ages 14 to 17, received moderate to major injuries, authorities said.
Long has apologized for the accident.
A breath test showed that Long had a blood-alcohol level of .07, which is below the legal limit of .08 but the mayor seemed to be impaired and failed field sobriety tests, police said.
Long’s resignation is not an admission of guilt but “every place he goes, this comes up, and it casts aspersions upon the city,” Long’s attorney, Virginia Blumenthal, told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/ZDDDE3 ).
“There are a lot of accidents that are not crimes,” she said. “Alcohol was consumed, but it’s our position that he was not under the influence of alcohol at the time he was driving.”
Murrieta is a Riverside County city of more than 100,000 people, located about 75 miles east of Los Angeles.
Long made national news in July when he encouraged residents to oppose a federal government plan to process Central American immigrants at the U.S. Border Patrol facility in Murrieta. Protesters blocking the road forced buses carrying immigrants to turn around.