By Associated Press - Monday, January 6, 2020

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut lawmaker charged with drunken driving in October has been returned to a leadership post on the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee.

Democratic Rep. Joe Verrengia, a retired police officer from West Hartford, was suspended from the co-chairmanship of the panel after his arrest.

He has since completed an alcohol education program for first-time DUI offenders, which will lead to dismissal of the charge in November if he successfully completes a probationary period.

“I have taken this very seriously from day one,” Verrengia told Hearst Connecticut Media Group last week.

“I did complete the two things under my control at this point,” he said. “There was a requirement to attend a MADD panel, which was personally a very impactful group with families who lost loved ones to drunken driving. I also took it upon myself to exceed the number of alcohol education hours.”

The Public Safety and Security Committee deals with law enforcement issues as well as gambling and alcohol regulation.

Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz recently restored Verrengia to the leadership post, citing Verrengia’s completion of the education program.

Verrengia fell asleep behind the wheel in the travel lane of a West Hartford street, prompting three 911 calls, police said.

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