Los Altos planning commissioner pleads not guilty to misdemeanor DUI


A Los Altos planning commissioner pleaded not guilty to a driving under the influence charge Wednesday after being found asleep in a moving Tesla in November on Highway 101 in Redwood City.

Alexander Samek, 45, was cited for two misdemeanors, DUI and DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and was told to appear in court on Friday.

Samek's attorney Josh Bentley instead filed a "paper arraignment" pleading not guilty on Wednesday, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Bentley could not be reached for comment.

California Highway Patrol officers tried to stop Samek's Tesla Model S traveling at 70 mph on southbound Highway 101 at Whipple Avenue to conduct a DUI check shortly before 4 a.m. on Nov. 30.

They noticed Samek was asleep at the wheel and drove in front of the car at a close distance to activate the vehicle's automatic stopping system.

The Tesla came to a complete stop at 4:04 a.m. on southbound Highway 101 north of Embarcadero Road after tailing the CHP vehicle for about 7 miles.

According to Wagstaffe, Samek refused a chemical test for DUI, and officers drew his blood in a "medically approved manner" after obtaining a warrant. His blood alcohol level registered as 0.12, after initially coming in at 0.14 on a preliminary test about an hour earlier.

Wagstaffe said Samek has no prior offenses and will return to court for a pretrial hearing in April and a jury trial in May. The Los Altos Planning Commission declined to comment on the case.

— Bay City News Service

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30 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 3, 2019 at 4:09 pm

I'd like to see the unrepentant perp try to get out of these charges. If you want a future in public service, you have to take responsibility for your actions.

7 people like this
Posted by realist
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2019 at 7:14 pm

I'm sure he can afford a good enough lawyer to have the charge whittled down to something less onerous than a DUI

20 people like this
Posted by No deal
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 3, 2019 at 8:29 pm

There will be no special deal. The defendant will eventually plead "no contest" or "guilty" to DUI (the (a) or (b)) sub-section) and receive the first time caught offender penalties. Meanwhile, having refused to submit to a chemical test for his blood-alcohol level, his license is suspended. If you see him driving, take a video with your cell phone and call the police.

2 people like this
Posted by Mummzie 3
a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2019 at 2:20 pm

Mummzie 3 is a registered user.

That's good info, @No deal, I didn't know if you refuse a chemical test your license is suspended. That is very good. I hope someone does catch him driving while his license is suspended. You know people do it, believing they won't get caught. His actions were horrifically dangerous and it's only thru the grace of God that he didn't kill someone while passed out at the wheel. I hope they throw the book at him, but they probably won't. They'll wait until he does kill someone and then say how terrible it is.

8 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Defense: He was not driving at 70 mph, the car was! Tesla is responsible.

4 people like this
Posted by PeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 4, 2019 at 4:43 pm

Worth noting: Lots of people drive under the influence, fall asleep, and have horrible accidents. In this case, the Tesla kept him and maybe many others alive.

4 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jan 4, 2019 at 7:23 pm

@PeaceLove - Likewise I'm glad nobody got injured.

However, there is simply no excuse for the recklessness of driving drunk (with or without driver assistance) and not owning up to it (what sort of example does it set for kids).

2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 5, 2019 at 2:13 pm

@PeaceLove - Totally agree! That Tesla probably saved his miserable life, and perhaps others too.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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