One of the candidates vying for the District 2 state Senate seat in the April 29 election was arrested over Easter weekend on a first-offense DWI by Gonzales police, according to Ascension Parish jail records.
Albert "Ali" Burl, 40, of Garyville, St. John the Baptist Parish, said Friday that he was arrested for driving while intoxicated shortly after 10 p.m. April 15. He was booked into jail in the early morning hours of Easter Sunday and released later that morning, jail records show.
Burl, who is a part-time funeral director with a Garyville funeral home, said Friday that on the day he was arrested, he had assisted with two funerals, then went to an Easter Egg hunt he hosts each year at the Ezekiel Jackson Park in Garyville.
After the Easter Egg hunt ended around 6 p.m., he drove to a wedding reception for a family member in St. Amant, he said.
Burl said he headed home from the reception at about 10 p.m. and was driving down Burnside Avenue in Gonzales when he dropped his cellphone on the other side of his car.
He tried to reach it, he said, then pulled into a parking lot close to the interstate to look for it. Unable to find it, he continued to drive home and had just merged onto Interstate 10 when a Gonzales police officer stopped him, he said.
He said the officer told him the department had received a call saying that he was driving erratically.
Burl said he refused to take a breathalyzer test because he "believed it would not give an accurate statement of my sobriety."
After he was booked, Burl said he was taken by police to a hospital for a blood test. He said Friday he has not been given the results of the blood test.
"The reason I was charged with DWI is because I refused the breathalyzer," Burl said.
"I'm not claiming any innocence or guilt," he said. "I never claimed to be a saint."
Burl was also booked on counts of driving on a roadway laned for traffic and no driver's license on person.
He is one of 13 candidates competing for the state Senate seat vacated by Troy Brown, who resigned after he pleaded no contest to two separate incidents of violence toward women. The Senate was planning to try and expel Brown using a procedure that had not been used in 35 years.