Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was arrested Monday on suspicion of drunken driving after a Santa Fe restaurant's security complained about a possibly intoxicated driver. The 71-year-old Shepard told a police officer that he had two tequila drinks and was planning to drive home, Santa Fe police Lt. Andrea Dobyns said yesterday. "Our officer could smell alcohol on his breath, and he had bloodshot, watery eyes," she said. Shepard was arrested on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated outside La Choza restaurant in downtown. He was released from a Santa Fe jail yesterday afternoon after posting bail.
The restaurant's security called police about 7:45pm Monday, concerned because a man was trying to leave in a pickup, but the vehicle's emergency brake was engaged. Shepherd declined to take a breath test, but he did perform a field sobriety test, which he failed, Dobyns said. The arrest appears to be Shepard's second on charges of drunken driving. In January 2009, he was arrested on charges of speeding and drunken driving in the central Illinois town of Normal. Shepard was driving 16mph over the 30mph speed limit, police said. A breath test then indicated his blood-alcohol level was double the legal limit. He pleaded guilty and was fined $600 and court costs and placed on 24 months of supervision. He also had to finish an alcohol treatment program and perform 100 hours of community service.