Belfast Telegraph

Shepard bailed after drink arrest

Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after a restaurant's security complained about a possibly intoxicated driver.

The 71-year-old star told a police officer he had had two tequila drinks and was planning to drive home, according to police in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"Our officer could smell alcohol on his breath, and he had bloodshot, watery eyes," Lieutenant Andrea Dobyns said.

Shepard was arrested on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated outside La Choza restaurant in the city centre.

The restaurant's security called police with concerns about an intoxicated driver, Ms Dobyns said. The man was trying to leave in a pick-up truck but the vehicle's emergency brake was engaged.

Shepherd declined to take a breath test but performed a field sobriety test, which he failed, Ms Dobyns said.

Santa Fe jail records show Shepard was released after posting bail.

Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his play Buried Child. His film credits include Country, Baby Boom, Steel Magnolias, Thunderheart, Black Hawk Down, The Notebook and Walker Payne.

Playing Chuck Yeager in a drama about the birth of America's space programme, The Right Stuff earned Shepard an Academy Award nomination. His play True West, depicting a rivalry between two estranged brothers, has been revived numerous times and starred high-profile actors over the years.

The arrest appears to be Shepard's second on charges of drink-driving. In January 2009, he was arrested on charges of speeding and drink-driving in the central Illinois town of Normal. He was driving 16mph over the 30mph speed limit, police said.

A breath test then indicated his blood-alcohol level was double the legal limit. The actor told police he had been at a tavern in nearby Bloomington and was heading to a hotel.

Shepard pleaded guilty and was fined 600 dollars and court costs and placed on 24 months of supervision. He also had to finish an alcohol treatment programme and perform 100 hours of community service.


From Belfast Telegraph