LANCASTER – A senior advisor to former state senator and current Board of Equalization member George Runner is scheduled to be arraigned on drunk driving charges this week.
Andrew “Drew” Mercy is charged with misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more, court records show.
The charges stem from an arrest, which occurred on Friday, April 12, when Mercy’s vehicle was stopped near Avenue I and Redwood Avenue in Lancaster. Mercy apparently failed a sobriety test, and he was arrested on suspicion of DUI around 10:45 p.m. and booked at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station with bail set at $5,000, according to jail records.
Drunk driving charges against Mercy were filed on May 15.
The 33-year-old Lancaster resident is an active member of the Antelope Valley community. Mercy sits on the City of Lancaster’s Architectural and Design Commission, he is the president of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade, and he is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, 36th Assembly District Central Committee.
Mercy has also worked as an advisor to several state legislators, including the late Senator William J. “Pete” Knight and George and Sharon Runner, the first husband and wife in California history to have served concurrently in the Legislature.
Speaking by telephone Wednesday morning, Mercy said he deeply regrets his “very bad decision,” he is taking full responsibility for his actions, and he expects to face the appropriate consequences.
“I don’t believe in making excuses at all. I did the wrong thing,” Mercy said.
He said on the night of April 12, he was having dinner with his wife and some friends, when he made the “poor decision” to drive home, after having a few drinks.
“When it occurred, I spoke about it immediately with my employers and with community organizations that I’m a part of and hold leadership positions in to not only take responsibility, but to be honest with the people I work with and the people that I volunteer with in the community,” Mercy said.
Mercy currently serves as George Runner’s Senior Advisor for Taxpayer Advocacy at the California State Board of Equalization, District 2.
In a prepared statement released Wednesday, Runner said the incident was “not characteristic of Drew.”
“Drew contacted me immediately after the incident occurred. He offered his resignation. After consideration, I did not accept his resignation,” Runner said.
“Drew has worked for both me and Sharon over the past 16 years and the behavior that led to this incident is not characteristic of Drew. I am very disappointed and personally know that Drew is very remorseful about this. He is fully aware of the consequences of his actions,” George Runner’s statement continues.
Mercy said he is hoping that his incident would discourage others from making the same mistake.
“I’ve learned it the hard way, I hope other people don’t have to…” Mercy said. “[Alcohol] inhibits judgment, and it’s something that people have to be very careful with.”
Mercy will be arraigned on the charges at 8:30 a.m. Thursday (June 13) at the Antelope Valley courthouse.
UPDATED 6/13/13: Drew Mercy pleaded NOT GUILTY to the charges at his arraignment on June 13, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Mercy’s next court date is a pretrial hearing set for Thursday, July 18, at the Antelope Valley courthouse in Department A06, Robison said.