Assemb. Brian Kolb at the Capitol in Albany in 2016.

Assemb. Brian Kolb at the Capitol in Albany in 2016. Credit: Hans Pennink

A top state Assembly leader was arrested on New Year’s Eve and charged with driving drunk, authorities say, less than two weeks after the lawmaker had admonished drivers to abstain when behind the wheel.

Assemb. Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua), who serves as minority leader of the Democrat-controlled body, was arrested after he crashed a 2018 GMC Acadia on County Road 41 at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday in the upstate town of Victor, according to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department.

“The operator, Brian Kolb, was taken into custody for Driving While Intoxicated,” said news release from the sheriff’s office. “Mr. Kolb was charged with Unsafe Turn and Driving While Intoxicated with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) over .08%.”

The release said no one was injured in the crash and that Kolb, 67, would answer the charges against him at an unspecified date in Town of Victor Court.

Kolb on Wednesday released a statement accepting responsibility for the incident.

"Last night, I was charged with driving under the influence near my home,” he said. “This was a terrible lapse in judgment, one I have urged others not to make, and I take full responsibility for it. I want to offer sincere apologies to my family, friends, colleagues, and the people of the 131st Assembly District. I fully recognize the severity of the situation and I am profoundly sorry. There is no excuse and no justification for what occurred Tuesday evening. I made the wrong decision, and it is one I deeply regret."

The crash comes shortly after Kolb wrote an opinion piece that he posted on his Assembly website Dec. 20 saying the holiday season is a time for celebrations that can “involve indulging in spirits,” but that there’s no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol. The item also ran in the Canandaigua-based Daily Messenger newspaper on Dec. 24.

“There is no excuse for impaired driving,” he wrote in an item dated Dec. 20. “Here in New York, we have taxis, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft and a robust public transportation system. Please, use these services, or a sober, reliable designated driver when making your way about town. Further, law enforcement in the state has encouraged drivers to download and use the Stop DWI 'Have a Plan' app. By thinking ahead and coming up with a plan before imbibing, many regrettable situations can be avoided.”

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