Tennessee state representative Rob Briley chaired the Judiciary Committee in the state House, and also held a seat on a study committee “assigned to recommend changes in the state’s DUI laws.” So you might regard it as unseemly of him, after having smashed his vehicle into a pickup truck on the afternoon of Sept. 8, to have led police on a 100-mph chase in Wilson and DeKalb counties. The chase culminated in his being apprehended and charged with offenses that included drunken driving, evading arrest, and vandalism. The vandalism consisted of doing “about $1,000 worth of damage to the patrol car by kicking and punching the back door and window”, according to police, who say they found an empty bottle of bourbon and several bottles of prescription meds in Briley’s SUV.
What raised some eyebrows around the state is that when officers at the Wilson County Jail had him fill out a form listing a “next of kin” or other person he wanted contacted, Briley, who is going through a divorce, named Mary Littleton, lead lobbyist for the Tennessee Association for Justice, formerly known as the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association. His explanation later was that Ms. Littleton was a logical person to name since she knew a lot of lawyers and he was going to need a lawyer. Briley has now resigned his Judiciary chairmanship as well as the seat on the DUI commission, and says he’s in rehab. Indeed, he claims he was headed for a rehab center on the afternoon in question — so eager to get there, perhaps, that 100 mph seemed only reasonable. He has now retained Ms. Littleton, who describes herself as a long-term friend, and two other attorneys to represent him. (Eric Schelzig, “Video shows Rep. Briley berating police, sobbing”, AP/Ashland City Times, Sept. 12; Kleinheider blog, WKRN, Sept. 13; Sheila Wissner, “Briley listed lobbyist as contact after DUI arrest; has no memory of chase”, The Tennessean, Sept. 13; Michael Silence, Sept. 13; Tom Humphrey, “Rep. Briley steps down from chairman position”, Knoxville News-Sentinel, Sept. 15; Sheila Wissner and Sheila Burke, “Arrest report says Briley had been committed”, Ashland City Times, Sept. 15).