Rep. Robin Comey. House Democrats

Rep. Robin Comey, D-Branford, was suspended from her legislative duties Friday morning after flipping her car and being arrested on a drunken-driving charge Thursday evening near the state Capitol. 

Comey, 55, rolled her 2016 Honda Civic in the middle of Capitol Avenue at 6:07 p.m., when a woman at a nearby mini-market heard a crash and called police, according to a Hartford police incident report.

Comey appeared uninjured in a Fox 61 video of police administering a field sobriety test and then handcuffing her. The lawmaker declined medical attention, then failed a field sobriety test and later consented to two breathalyzer tests.

Her blood alcohol level was 0.1446% and 0.14%, well above the legal limit of 0.08%.

Comey, who could not be reached Friday morning, made news in 2021 after having difficulty speaking in an evening House debate, which she attributed then to exhaustion “and regrettably, the wine I had with dinner.”

House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, removed Comey from her three committee assignments and her minor leadership role as an assistant majority whip. Two thirds of House Democrats have a leadership title.

“My immediate reaction is to think about Rep. Comey’s next steps,” Ritter said. “I hope she focuses on her health and well-being, and I know that her friends and colleagues will support her in any way we can.”

[Update: On Saturday, Comey said, “After much reflection and with the support of my family, starting today, I will begin treatment to better understand the disease that is addiction and to get the help I recognize I need.”]

The incident with Comey in 2021 drew attention to drinking at the Capitol during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the rules were changed to allow lawmakers to watch debates and vote via an app on their computers as long as they were in the Capitol or Legislative Office Building.

Ritter and House Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, reprimanded lawmakers.

“It’s fair to say that myself and Jason have admonished people,” Ritter said in 2021. “I think the incidents are a little more isolated, maybe not as widespread as some might think, but there’s no question that we expect people to be adults, to understand the consequences of their decisions.”

On Thursday, Comey attended a 10 a.m. meeting and 11 a.m. public hearing of the Human Services Committee, although a video showed her participating virtually, from her office in the LOB. 

The hearing lasted nearly six hours, finishing barely an hour before the crash.

Her accident occurred on Capitol Avenue between Lawrence and Babcock streets, a short distance from the Capitol and Legislative Office Building and near a bar and restaurant popular with lawmakers, the Red Rock.

According to the incident report by Officer Travis Greeley, Comey could not explain how the accident occurred.

“I don’t know. I was heading home,” she said.

She eventually told Greeley she had been at a nearby restaurant.

“After multiple times of asking Comey what restaurant she was coming from she stated, ‘I’m not sure what to say,'” Greeley wrote.

Greeley asked her what she had for dinner.

“I didn’t have anything for dinner,” she replied.

Comey was arrested after three field tests and brought to a mobile breath alcohol testing vehicle, where she initially declined to provide a breath sample, then asked, “What happens if I don’t want?”

Under state law, refusal to take a breathalyzer prompts an automatic license revocation.

She consented at 8:15 p.m.

Police found no witnesses who observed the crash or video from nearby buildings or the city’s street camera network.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.