Police: Former Rep. Claimed Immunity To Avoid Arrest

Dennie Oxley Could Face Several Charges

A former state representative and once Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor told Indianapolis police that he was immune from arrest during an alleged drunken incident outside a gas station downtown early Friday morning.

Dennie Oxley, 38, of Taswell, Ind., was with a 21-year-old female Indiana House intern in the parking lot of the Citgo gas station in the 400 block of East Ohio Street after 1 a.m., 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

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Police were called to the station because the woman was shoeless and lying on the ground, and others were concerned for her safety.

When officers arrived, they said they saw Oxley holding a pair of shoes and trying to evade them by walking quickly through a nearby alley. An officer caught up to Oxley and immediately noticed Oxley had been drinking heavily.

"He was … extremely intoxicated, slurring speech. During the course of the conversation (Oxley) stated he didn't know how he got there or where he was," said Indianapolis police Sgt. Matt Mount.

Oxley also told the officer that he couldn't be arrested because the Legislature is in session, even though he is no longer a legislator.

Oxley gave up his seat to run a losing campaign with gubernatorial candidate Jill Long Thompson against Gov. Mitch Daniels. Oxley's father, also named Dennie Oxley, filled the vacated post in the House.

"They started talking about possibly arresting him for public intoxication, at which time he informed that they couldn't because of immunity since he was a state representative and they were in session," Mount said.

Officers took Oxley at his word. Although the immunity point is moot in this case because Oxley is no longer a legislator, Article IV Section 8 of the Indiana Constitution says "senators and representatives, in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during the session of the General Assembly, and in going to and returning from same."

Police said the woman involved was also extremely intoxicated and had apparently passed out on the ground. She was not able to give officers her version of the events.

Gas station clerk Mansour Alsubaie told police that a cab had dropped Oxley and the woman there.

Dennie Oxley

Much of the incident was captured on gas station surveillance video. When officers arrived, it appeared on the video that Oxley tried to hide behind another car, hoping to avoid detection.

Oxley has not been charged, but because he allegedly gave police incorrect information about being a member of the Legislature, obstruction of justice and public intoxication are two of several charges he could face.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said he has ordered an investigation into the Oxley case and called the allegations serious.

"We want to talk to the police officers and find out what was said," Brizzi said. "We don't have all the facts, so we're going to take some time."

The intern was taken by ambulance to Wishard Memorial Hospital for evaluation. If police had not been able to find Oxley a ride home with a friend, he would also have been taken to a hospital, Rinehart reported.

Witness: Oxley 'Freaking Out' At Gas Station

A man who witnessed Oxley's ordeal said the former state representative was "freaking out, basically" in the gas station parking lot during the incident.

Mansour Alsubaie said he saw the cab pull up and then saw a woman lying on the ground after it left.

Alsubaie said he made sure someone called for help and then checked on the woman himself.

"When I came outside, he was looking at her, and I started talking to her and said, 'Are you alright?'" Alsubaie said. "She was like saying some words, but I was not understanding. She was like too drunk."

After Indianapolis officers arrived, Mansour said Oxley tried to avoid being seen and put the woman's high heel shoes in his jacket and walked off.

"I saw when the police officers come here, he was trying to leave," Alsubaie said. "The police officer catch him there."

Oxley was a policy advisor for House Speaker Pat Bauer, but he was a contract employee and that position ended at the close of the regular session.

This isn't Oxley's first run-in with legal trouble. In February, he was arrested in southern Indiana after his involvement in a traffic crash in which he was intoxicated, police said.

Oxley hit a parked car in Crawford County, officials said, and his blood-alcohol level at the time was at least twice Indiana's legal limit.

After that arrest, Oxley said he had "let folks down" and that he "will work every day to earn back their confidence."

6News made several attempts to contact Oxley Friday, but he didn't return calls.