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Legislator charged under state ‘super drunk’ driver law

Gary Heinlein
The Detroit News

Lansing — An Upper Peninsula state lawmaker was formally charged Friday with violating Michigan’s so-called “super drunk” law.

Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, is charged with driving with a high blood alcohol content, having an open intoxicant in his vehicle-second offense and speeding, Clinton County Prosecutor Charles Sherman said.

He was arrested Nov. 9 while driving his pickup truck on U.S. 127 north of Lansing.

No arraignment date has been scheduled.

A blood alcohol content of 0.08 is considered legally drunk in Michigan.

The high blood alcohol content charge, for a reading of at least 0.17, is a serious misdemeanor. Penalties include up to 180 days in jail, fines of $200 to $700, up to 360 hours of community service and a one-year license suspension.

Kivela, a former Marquette mayor, issued a statement after his arrest pledging to undergo treatment for alcoholism.

“I am truly sorry to my wife, family and constituents for letting them down,” he said. “I have battled with alcoholism for most of my adult life. My dependence on alcohol has become a problem, and I plan to seek treatment immediately.”

The 46-year-old lawmaker is in his second House term.

gheinlein@detroitnews.com

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