Atlanta Hawks coach says he will contest DUI charge

Michael Budenholzer photo from Atlanta City Police

Michael Budenholzer photo from Atlanta City Police

ATLANTA (CNN) — The new head coach of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of driving under the influence, the Georgia State Patrol said.

Michael Budenholzer said Thursday he’d contest the charge, and pleaded not guilty in an Atlanta court, according to his attorney, Michael Hawkins.

A state trooper pulled over Budenholzer in Atlanta because the taillights of his car weren’t on, the arrest report says. The trooper reported that Budenholzer “had bloodshot and watery eyes and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.”

Budenholzer declined twice to take a breath test but consented to field sobriety tests, the trooper reported. Budenholzer was arrested after those tests, the report says.

Hawkins said Thursday that Budenholzer wanted to consult an attorney before taking the breath test, but the trooper didn’t allow him to do so at the pullover site.

Once at the jail, Budenholzer did consult an attorney by phone, and the coach then requested a breath test and a blood test, Hawkins said.

“His request (at the jail) was refused,” Hawkins said.

After being released on bond, the coach went to a hospital, where his blood was tested, according to Hawkins.

The test — taken hours after his arrest — showed a blood alcohol content of less than .01%, Hawkins said. The legal limit for drivers is .08%.

Budenholzer told the trooper that he had one glass of wine and that he finished drinking 15 minutes before he was pulled over, according to the police report.

The report notes that Budenholzer was polite and had mumbled, slow and slurred speech.

Budenholzer said Thursday that he apologizes “to the fans and to the Hawks organization for any negative attention this incident has brought upon my family and the organization while the legal process evolves and I contest these misdemeanor charges.”

Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry said that Budenholzer informed the team of the arrest Wednesday night.

“We are in the process of gathering more information and will have further comment at the appropriate time,” Ferry said.

The Hawks hired Budenholzer as head coach in May after he served more than 15 years as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. As a Spurs assistant, he was part of four NBA championship-winning teams.

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