Georgetown's Sen. Charles Schwertner arrested for DWI Tuesday morning

Sen. Charles Schwertner
Sen. Charles Schwertner

Austin police arrested state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, early Tuesday and charged him with a misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated.

Schwertner was arrested at 2:12 a.m. Tuesday and was booked in the Travis County Jail. He was released hours later on $3,000 bail, according to jail records.

Austin police spokesman Brandon Jones said police stopped Schwertner around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday near the West 45th Street and Avenue B intersection and arrested him shortly after the stop.

An officer spotted a 2022 black Cadillac "swerving to the right and left and split the two lanes repeatedly" along West 45th Street, according to Schwertner's arrest affidavit. The officer pulled over Schwertner and said in the affidavit that the senator had bloodshot, glassy and watery eyes and was confused and had slurred speech.

Schwertner "also had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath," the affidavit said.

Schwertner was set to preside over an 11 a.m. Senate committee meeting on the state's power grid and recent winter outages, including those involving Austin Energy. The meeting proceeded with Schwertner absent from the gathering.

Additionally, the Senate Finance Committee, which Schwertner serves on, was scheduled to begin a hearing on higher education funding at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The meeting went on as planned with Schwertner absent.

Schwertner's office did not immediately respond to the American-Statesman's request for comment.

In a statement Tuesday, attorney Perry Minton, who represents Schwertner, said: "I met with Senator Schwertner very early this morning directly after his unfortunate arrest. He was certainly humble and embarrassed by his circumstances but he was clear-eyed, sober and making good sense. Because of this, we'll be interested in the discovery once it becomes available."

More:What we know about Charles Schwertner's arrest and a past incident involving UT student

Previous allegations

Schwertner has previously faced allegations of wrongdoing.

In 2018, a University of Texas graduate student accused him of sending explicit text messages to her.

The student reported to UT that she received unwanted messages from the senator, whom she had met at a university-affiliated event and asked for advice about learning about policy. The student complained after Schwertner appeared to interrupt an otherwise professional texting exchange by writing, “I really just wanted to f--- you,” and sending an image of a man's genitalia. The student replied: “Please stop. This is unprofessional. I’m a student interested in learning about Healthcare Policy. These advances are unwanted.”

The university launched an investigation and closed it without taking action against Schwertner, saying that the "available evidence" did not prove that he violated school policy. From the outset, Schwertner denied sending the messages and instead said they came from a third person with whom Schwertner shared an account on the Hushed app, which allows people to send text messages using proxy phone numbers to conceal their primary number. Schwertner, however, declined to reveal the third person's identity to investigators.

About a month after UT closed its investigation and prior to the 2019 legislative session, Schwertner asked Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick not to reappoint him as chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for the session that was upcoming amid the sexually explicit text message allegation against him.

More:Amid scandal, Schwertner gives up gavel

Schwertner was first elected to the Texas House in 2010 and then to the Senate in 2012, where he’s served for the past 10 years. He was reelected last year and his current term ends in 2026.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Charles Schwertner, Texas senator, arrested, charged with DWI