A Los Altos planning commissioner pleaded not guilty to a driving under the influence charge Wednesday after being found asleep in a moving Tesla in November on U.S. Highway 101 that was stopped in Palo Alto.
Alexander Samek, 45, was cited for two misdemeanors, DUI and DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher, and was told to appear in court on Friday.
Samek's attorney Josh Bentley instead filed a "paper arraignment" pleading not guilty on Wednesday, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Bentley could not be reached for comment.
California Highway Patrol officers tried to stop Samek's Tesla Model S traveling at 70 mph on southbound Highway 101 at Whipple Avenue in Redwood City to conduct a DUI check shortly before 4 a.m. on Nov. 30.
They noticed Samek was asleep at the wheel and drove in front of the car at a close distance to activate the vehicle's automatic stopping system.
The Tesla came to a complete stop at 4:04 a.m. on southbound Highway 101 north of Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto after tailing the CHP vehicle for about 7 miles.
According to Wagstaffe, Samek refused a chemical test for DUI, and officers drew his blood in a "medically approved manner" after obtaining a warrant. His blood alcohol level registered as 0.12, after initially coming in at 0.14 on a preliminary test about an hour earlier.
Wagstaffe said Samek has no prior offenses. The planning commissioner will return to court for a pretrial hearing in April and a jury trial in May. The Los Altos Planning Commission declined to comment on the case.