Oscar-nominated actor Sam Shepard was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in New Mexico on Monday, after a restaurant’s security complained about a possible inebriated driver. The security guard had called the police at about 7:45 p.m. and said that the man was trying to leave, but the vehicle’s emergency brake was engaged.
Shepard was arrested outside the La Choza restaurant in downtown on a charge of aggravated driving while being intoxicated, the Associated Press (AP) reported Tuesday. He had failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breath test. Officials reportedly said that there was enough evidence to indicate that Shepard was intoxicated.
"Our officer could smell alcohol on his breath, and he had bloodshot, watery eyes," Santa Fe Police Lt. Andrea Dobyns said, according to the AP.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright had reportedly told the police officer that he had taken two tequila shots and was planning to drive home.
According to Santa Fe jail records, Shepard was released on a bail on Tuesday, the AP reported. The latest arrest is the second for the actor for drunken driving after his 2009 arrest for speeding while intoxicated. He was driving at a speed of 46 miles per hour in a residential area and his alcohol blood count was 0.175, twice the legal limit, TMZ had reported at the time. He had reportedly pleaded guilty in court after the incident and was fined $600, along with court costs. He was also put under supervision for 24 months and had to undergo an alcohol treatment program, besides 100 hours of community service.
The actor has talked openly about his addiction to alcohol. In an interview in 2010 to the Guardian, Shepard talked about the 2009 arrest and called the fight with alcohol a constant “struggle.”
"It's a constant struggle. It's such a knucklehead disease because you refuse to see it. It wasn't until the 90s that I actually started going to AA and made a real compact with myself to quit. And I did quit for four years. And then I picked it up again. It's like being a junkie,” Shepard had told the Guardian.
Shepard was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor for the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff,” People magazine reported. He has also acted in “August: Osage County,” “The Notebook” and “Black Hawk Down.” Recently, he made an appearance in the Netflix movie, “Bloodline.”