CH mayor facing charges in Tulsa, Okla.
by James Phillips and Daniel Gaddy
Oct 12, 2012 | 7662 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mayor Chris Hart
Mayor Chris Hart
Carbon Hill Mayor Chris Hart is facing charges in Oklahoma after being arrested in late September.

According to officials with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the Tulsa Police Department, Hart was arrested around 5 a.m. on Sept. 22 and charged with actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated.

Cpl. Dennis Miller with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said Hart was taken to the Tulsa Jail and bonded out.

Hart said that his mug shot has been circulated throughout the county via e-mails and text messages, and the rumors have far overblown the charges.

He said the pictures, many of them screen shots from a website, show his mug shot along with the classification of the offense. While the specific charge was actual physical control of a vehicle, it is in the same classification as charges of DUI and certain amounts of drug possession. Many websites simply had the classification and not Hart's specific charge.

Hart said there were no drugs in his vehicle, and he was not driving nor had any intentions to.

Leeland Ashley, a public information officer with the Tulsa Police Department, confirmed there were no drugs involved in the arrest.

He said the arrest was “alcohol-related.” Ashley said the APC charge occurs when someone is intoxicated and in their vehicle with the keys.

“They could be parked in a parking lot or maybe parked at a stop sign, but they are able to drive and could start the vehicle at any time,” Ashley explained.

Hart said the incident occurred after he went out for drinks with friends from work. Rather than driving, he decided to stay in the vehicle until he felt that he could safely drive. He said his keys were in the console of the vehicle, not the ignition.

"I thought I was doing the responsible thing," he said.

Hart added that he was arrested after taking a breathalyzer test that put his blood alcohol level below the .08 threshold used by law enforcement. But since he has a commercial driver's license, that standard was lowered to a blood alcohol level of .03.

Hart said many people in Carbon Hill were happy to publicize the incident simply because of past political and personal differences with him. He said pictures of his mug shot and the charges were even posted at his job.

"It's embarrassing for me and for my family," he said. "I've been torn up about it ever since it happened."

He said that in light of the whole ordeal, he has no desire to return to politics.

"There are some good people in this town (Carbon Hill), I mean some real good people, and I think the world of them, but the good people in this town are sitting back and not doing anything and letting the cliques run it," he said.