La Mesa Mayor's Driver Pleads Not Guilty To DUI Charge

A woman who was found slumped over in the driver's seat of an SUV owned by La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid nearly two months ago pleaded not guilty Thursday to a drunken driving charge.

Trisha Kristine Turner, a finance department employee for the city of La Mesa, faces up to six months in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor charge.

The defendant entered her plea by fax through her attorney Michael Richmond, according to Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Kaplan.

A readiness conference was scheduled for May 16.

Madrid, who was not charged in the case, was found lying on a sidewalk near his vehicle about a block from his home around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 20,

Turner, 34, was keeled over in the driver's seat with the engine still running, police said.

Police, who gave both people a ride home, did not see either of them driving intoxicated because they pulled up to a stopped vehicle.

Madrid has apologized for his actions, saying he doesn't have a drinking problem.

10News reported that Madrid drank in excess that night to mark the 19-year anniversary of his son's death from cancer.

La Mesa Police Chief Alan Lanning said that his officers did not know who Madrid was until they checked his identification. He said officers would have done the same thing for anyone else in La Mesa in that situation.

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