SANTA FE, N.M. - Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was arrested Monday on suspicion of drunken driving after a complaint from security at a Santa Fe restaurant about a possibly intoxicated driver.
The 71-year-old Shepard told a police officer that he had two tequila drinks and was planning to drive home, Santa Fe police Lt. Andrea Dobyns said Tuesday. "Our officer could smell alcohol on his breath, and he had bloodshot, watery eyes," she said.
Shepard was arrested on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated outside La Choza restaurant in downtown.
The restaurant's security called police at about 7:45 p.m. Monday concerned about an intoxicated driver, Dobyns said. The man was trying to leave in a pickup truck, but the vehicle's emergency brake was engaged.
Shepherd declined to take a breath test, but he did perform a field sobriety test, which he failed, Dobyns said.
Santa Fe County Jail records indicated Shepard had not been released from custody as of Tuesday afternoon
The office of Shepard's agent said Tuesday that it had no comment.
Shepard won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1979 three-act play "Buried Child." His film credits, among others, include "Baby Boom," ''Steel Magnolias," ''Thunderheart," ''Black Hawk Down," ''The Notebook," and "Walker Payne," according to the website of the Santa Fe Institute, a transdisciplinary research community, which lists the actor as a Miller Scholar.
Monday's arrest appears to be Shepard's second on charges of drunken driving. In January 2009, he was arrested on charges of speeding and drunken driving in the central Illinois town of Normal. Shepard was driving 16 mph over the 30 mph speed limit, police said. A breath test then indicated his blood-alcohol level was double the legal limit. The actor told police then that he had been at a tavern in nearby Bloomington and was heading to a hotel.
Shepard pleaded guilty and was fined $600 and court costs and was placed on 24 months supervision. He also had to finish an alcohol treatment program and perform 100 hours of community service.