A state representative from southwestern Ohio was found passed out in his vehicle at a McDonald’s drive-thru with a loaded firearm Sunday morning.
Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, was arrested by Butler County sheriff’s deputies and faces charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
He was still in the Butler County Jail on Sunday afternoon, according to the jail’s website.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Retherford’s arrest came the morning after the Butler County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner, which Retherford attended along with several other state lawmakers and 2018 statewide contenders.
“While it is wise to be patient and allow the legal process to work itself through, our Party is obviously disappointed at the first reports concerning State Representative Wes Retherford’s actions early this morning,” Butler County GOP Chairman Todd Hall said in a statement, the Enquirer reported.
Retherford was first elected to the Ohio House in 2012 representing the 51st District, which includes the cities of Hamilton and Fairfield in Butler County. He easily won re-election in November in the heavily Republican district, though he had to defeat a challenger last year in the GOP primary.
Former Rep. Courtney Combs gained the Butler County Republican Party endorsement against Retherford, who had been criticized for “partying,” the Enquirer reported.
The newspaper reported that House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger wanted a drinks cart removed from Retherford’s office because it violated House rules.
If convicted of the firearms charge, which is a felony, Retherford would be prohibited from serving as a state representative. Retherford can continue work at the Statehouse while the case is resolved, Rosenberger spokesman Brad Miller told the Enquirer.