DSP spokesman Master Cpl. Jeffrey R. Hale said Tanner W. Polce, 26, was charged with driving under the influence and several other traffic offenses. Polce is policy director for Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long.
Delaware State Police have confirmed reports a Dover city councilman was detained over the weekend on DUI charges.
DSP spokesman Master Cpl. Jeffrey R. Hale said Tanner W. Polce, 26, was charged with driving under the influence and several other traffic offenses.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Polce said he intends to fight the charges.
According to police reports, the incident took place at 5:45 p.m. May 28 at the intersection of Chesapeake City Road and Red Lion Road in New Castle County.
Hale said Polce was driving a 2016 Toyota Camry on Chesapeake City Road when he failed to stop at the intersection with Red Lion Road. His car was hit by a northbound 2003 Honda Accord, Hale said.
Both men in the Honda, the 55-year-old driver, and his 47-year-old passenger were taken by ambulance to Christiana Hospital, where they were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Hale said.
Polce was not injured.
He was given a summons to appear in court at a later time for arraignment.
Polce won a three-way race in April to become councilman for the city’s First District and was sworn into office May 8. He also serves as policy director for Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long.
Polce issued a statement about the incident shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday.
“This past Sunday, while visiting with my mother, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident.
“Thankfully, accordingly to all reports, no one was seriously injured.
“The responding officer issued a citation regarding facts underlying the motor vehicle accident, including a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol. I contest this allegation and look forward to proving my innocence in court.
“This, however, has been a truly eye-opening experience and an even larger learning experience. Throughout the campaign trail, I promised to serve my constituents with dignity and integrity. I vow to continue to serve in that exact manner. I ask for your continued support while this difficult situation is resolved.”
Hall-Long's office issued a statement attributed to the lieutenant governor late Tuesday afternoon.
“Tanner Polce was involved in an auto accident on Sunday evening. While I am pleased to learn there were no serious injuries, I am very disappointed that alcohol may have been a factor.”
Hall-Long's office referred any further questions to Dover attorney Sean M. Lynn.
Late Tuesday, Lynn confirmed his firm is representing Polce in the matter.
The Delaware Rules of Professional Conduct limits what he could say about the case, Lynn said in an email.
“The next step in the case will be to request the transfer of the case to the Court of Common Pleas in New Castle County,” Lynn said.
“Mr. Polce will be filing a Rule 10 entering a plea of not guilty and request a case review and a jury trial,” he said.
A Rule 10 filing is a common legal device that allows a defendant to file a written plea in lieu of appearing at an arraignment.
“Other than those limited facts, I think his own statement speaks for itself,” Lynn said.
This story has been updated to include statements from Polce, Hall-Long and Lynn.