ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Assemblyman Brian Kolb has stepped down as minority leader after he was charged on New Year’s Eve with drunken driving.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Kolb said he would resign the post to “put the needs and best interests of our conference ahead of my own.”
A spokesperson said Kolb would remain an Assembly member.
In his statement, Kolb said he would “not allow my own personal challenges to distract from the goals, message, and mission of the Assembly Minority Conference. With a new year and new legislative session ahead, the work of our conference cannot be undermined or deterred in any way.”
Kolb had served as minority leader since 2009.
“I will be forever grateful for the confidence my colleagues have placed in me for the past 10 years,” he said in the statement. “But in my heart, I know that this is the right time for a new leader to step in and advance an agenda that benefits all New Yorkers.”
According to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to 7980 County Road 41 in the town of Victor around 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve for the report of a property damage crash involving Kolb’s state-owned 2018 GMC Acadia.
A passerby noticed the vehicle in a ditch and called it in.
Deputies say Kolb was taken into custody for driving while intoxicated. There were no injuries, and Sheriff Kevin Henderson said there was minor damage to the vehicle.
Kolb failed a field sobriety test, and consented to have a breathalyzer test done. He was processed at the Ontario County Jail on charges of making an unsafe turn and DWI with a blood-alcohol level of over 0.08 %.
Earlier Friday, Republican Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor appeared on “The Capitol Pressroom” and called for Kolb to resign as minority leader. Lalor had tweeted on New Year’s Day that Kolb should have resigned immediately after his arrest, and it was a “disgrace” that he hadn’t done so.
In his statement, Kolb said he will “always deeply regret” the events of that night.
“On a personal level, I have begun the process of seeking professional help in order to heal, learn, and fully address the challenges that I, along with my family, currently face,” he said.
A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the drunken driving case. On Thursday, officials said that Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella has been named to handle the misdemeanor case of DWI.