Rising star in Idaho GOP charged with truck theft, DUI

Idaho StatesmanJune 20, 2011 

Senate Caucus Chairman John McGee was released from the Ada County Jail on a $5,000 bond after a short 10-minute hearing Monday afternoon.

The 38-year-old Caldwell Republican was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with a felony truck theft and misdemeanor DUI after police found him in the backseat of an SUV — towing a 20-foot trailer — that witnesses say he initially tried to drive off in.

It appeared from the brief hearing that McGee's attorney may argue that a medical issue was at play. Police say McGee registered a .15 blood alcohol content — nearly twice the legal driving limit of .08.

A preliminary hearing was set for July 1.

McGee is serving his fourth term in the Idaho Senate, and had been considered by many political watchers to be a contender for higher office.

A former aide to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, McGee has been mentioned frequently as a candidate for higher office, including governor. He is the chairman of the Canyon County GOP.

Police say McGee was drinking late Saturday night at a Boise golf course clubhouse, but left on foot. Sometime before 3 a.m., he got in a Ford Excursion with the keys still in it and tried to drive it away. He ended up jack-knifing the rig in a nearby driveway, according to two teen boys who say they watched the scene play out.

The boys' mother, Tracey Carleton, said Sunday that McGee appeared to be disoriented and hallucinating.

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