Local lawmaker arrested for DUI

By: Stephanie Baker Email
By: Stephanie Baker Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 21, 2007

COLUMBIA CTY, Ga.---Atlanta police say they arrested state representative Ben Harbin for driving under the influence. They say he crashed into a light pole early Sunday morning.

The arrest is surprising for some people in his Columbia County district because of Harbin's voting record. A news 12 investigation shows he has a history of cracking down on drinking and driving.

"As state representatives, they have a certain aura they're supposed to carry, a code of conduct." Said Harbin's neighbor, Matt Lewis.

Harbin's voting record shows he supports that code of conduct.
In 2003, Harbin voted yes to take away an offender's temporary permit if they don't follow their restrictions.

That same year, Harbin also voted to make drunk drivers pay a higher penalty.
Then, in 2004, he said yes to a bill letting insurance companies see the driver's DUI record.

A local church in Harbin's district says the people who make these laws, shouldn't break them.

"It can lead, as we've already seen, to a lot of destruction. it not only destroys the person, but families as well." Said a church employee.

She says no one is perfect, but leaders should be held to a higher standard.
Harbin's neighbor agrees.

"I understand people make mistakes. But in a position like that, you're just kind of surprised." Lewis said.

Atlanta police say the official police report will be ready by Wednesday. Calls to the representative went unreturned.

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