crimesider

Scott Bundgaard, Ariz. lawmaker, has immunity for freeway fight

CBS CBS

Scott Bundgaard and Aubry Ballard
www.scottbundgaard.com/KPHO

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - Scott Bundgaard and his girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, got into such a heated argument that Bundgaard had to pull over to the side of a busy Arizona highway, prompting an off-duty officer to call the police. Both Ballard and Bundgaard showed physical signs of an altercation but only Ballard ended up in jail.

Why?

Because Bundgaard happens to be an Arizona state legislator and is therefore immune from arrest while the Legislature is in session.

Officers responded late Friday night to a call about a man pulling a female passenger out of a vehicle stopped next to the median on State Route 51 in north Phoenix.

Police say the 43-year-old Bundgaard and 34-year-old Ballard both had marks on their body from a physical confrontation, which constituted an act of domestic violence.

After investigating, both Bundgaard and Ballard were taken into custody for safety purposes, Phoenix police spokesperson Sgt Tommy Thompson told CBS affiliate KPHO.

Bundgaard informed the officers that he was an Arizona State Senator and as such, was immune from arrest while the legislature is in session, Thompson said. Police also said Bundgaard invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Bundgaard spoke with KPHO about what happened Friday night; he had a black eye and a swollen lip, according to the station.

"There were some accusations made by her about me that weren't necessarily truthful and were pretty unflattering. From there it spiraled out of control and she started throwing stuff out of my car onto the freeway and threatening to throw herself out onto the freeway. So, I immediately pulled the vehicle over and that's how I ended up on the side of the road," Bundgaard told KPHO.

Bundgaard says that when he went to retrieve his belongings Ballard got into the driver's seat and refused to get out, "so I took her out of the driver's seat."

Bundgaard denies hitting or shoving Ballard but says that she struck him "a few times in the face, and one time with her phone," according to the station.

As to the reports that he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and immunity from arrest, Bundgaard told KPHO that happened after they read him his rights, saying, "when [the police] first approached me on the scene on the highway, I told them what had happened. At the point where they read me my rights, I said at this point I feel more comfortable talking to an attorney."

Immunity from arrest does not mean Bundgaard cannot be charged, only that he cannot be booked into jail. Phoenix police said they will submit the case for review for charges to the city attorney's office, according to the station.

Police say Bundgaard wasn't arrested but Ballard was booked early Saturday into a Maricopa County Jail on one count of assault.

Ballard did not return phone calls but she did release a written statement, according to KPHO.

"To go from putting on a beautiful dress for a great date to a fundraiser to ending up on the side of a freeway? I don't have another tear left to cry. I'm still trying to get my mind around a few things: Scott's actions, the 17 hours I spent in jail awaiting processing, my bruises, scrapes and soreness and his statements to the media," the statement reads.

  • Carlin Miller

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