Arizona legislator accused of drunken driving

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Rep. Albert Hale By Jennifer Thomas Rep. Albert Hale By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona state Rep. Albert Hale was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving, authorities said.

Hale was booked into jail Sunday in Holbrook and released the same day after appearing in court, Navajo County sheriff's Chief Deputy Jim Molesa said. Neither Molesa nor a spokesman for the arresting agency, the state Department of Public Safety, had details on the circumstances of the arrest.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Tim Case declined to comment Monday, saying the case is under investigation.

Hale's attorney, Michael Nelson, said the arrest happened in Overgaard during a trip from Hale's hometown of St. Michaels on the Navajo Nation. Hale was allowed to retrieve his vehicle after being booked into jail and appearing in court, and the representative continued driving to Phoenix, Nelson said.

He said he believes Hale was traveling alone. An arraignment is scheduled Dec. 9 in Snowflake Justice Court.

"He intends to participate in the process and comply with all court orders," Nelson said.

Hale, 64, is an attorney and former president of the Navajo Nation who resigned in 1998 to avoid impeachment on allegations of misuse of tribal funds. He was appointed to fill an Arizona Senate vacancy in 2004 and served in that chamber for seven years. He was elected to the state House in 2010 and will begin serving a third term in January.

Hale also is part of a group advocating for development of the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon on the Navajo Nation. Developers want to build a resort and aerial tramway that would ferry tourists from the cliff tops to the edge of the Colorado River just before it meets the Little Colorado River.

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