The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office charged Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) on Thursday with actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated in relation to his October arrest in Edmond. The offense was charged as a felony owing to Martinez’s prior driving under the influence case from 2014.
First reported by The Frontier, a warrant was issued for Martinez’s arrest Dec. 22, and the county’s website still listed the warrant as active by the publication of this article. Representatives of the Oklahoma County Jail and the Midwest City Jail said late Tuesday afternoon that Martinez had yet to book himself into their facilities.
Oklahoma County District Judge Nikki Kirkpatrick has been assigned Martinez’s case. Martinez did not respond to a message Tuesday morning seeking comment about the charge.
‘I’m the most dangerous criminal here in town’
Edmond police were dispatched to The Patriarch, a popular bar and brewhouse, late Wednesday, Oct. 26, after a patron called 911 to express concern that Martinez was intoxicated and preparing to drive away. Officers found Martinez sitting in the driver’s seat of his running SUV outside the bar at 11:41 p.m., according to a police report.
While being questioned by officers, Martinez made misleading statements about where he had been that evening, the number of drinks he had consumed, the distance he was planning to drive home and whether the Legislature was actively engaged in a special session. After he failed field sobriety tests and declined to take a breathalyzer test, Martinez was arrested at 12:23 a.m. Oct. 27. He was booked into the Edmond City Jail, and he bonded out at 4:40 a.m.
NonDoc obtained the audio from the reporting party’s 911 phone call and from the only call Martinez made from the Edmond City Jail.
The 911 call regarding Martinez was made by a woman who identified herself as another patron at The Patriarch. She told the dispatcher that Martinez drank one beer at The Patriarch but had arrived intoxicated and was cutoff by the bartender. The reporting caller also said Martinez was falling down and, at one point, ran into a wall while exiting the bar.
“I asked him if he’s OK, and he said he called a cab, so he might be calling a cab,” the woman told the dispatcher. “If he could be responsible, that would be good.”
The woman said she called 911 because she feared Martinez was getting in his car to drive away after stumbling into the wall.
“You know, that one foot goes over the other and you run into the wall. It was kind of scary. I was going to leave, but I’m not going to leave right now,” she said. “I don’t want to be on the road with him.”
In Martinez’s phone call from jail, he asked his spouse to contact an attorney and a bail bondsman. Martinez sarcastically summarized his situation.
“Whatever it takes to get me the fuck out of here, I don’t know. I’m serving the community here, apparently,” he said. “I’m the most dangerous criminal here in town, so.”
Martinez’s October arrest was not his first alcohol-related allegation, which triggered the felony charge. In 2014, Martinez was charged with a misdemeanor in Oklahoma County District Court for driving under the influence. He was put on probation for the offense, and it was later expunged from court records. That charge was emphasized by Martinez’s 2018 Republican primary opponent in mailers sent to voters.
Martinez became the subject of media attention earlier this year while chairing the investigative panel into the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department’s controversial contract with Swadley’s BBQ. He also made headlines during veto overrides at the end of the 2022 legislative session.
Martinez called Gov. Kevin Stitt “racist” for vetoing a bill that proposed requiring the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety to suspend driver’s licenses based on traffic offense convictions in tribal courts. Martinez also brandished a bottle of mayonnaise on the House floor, a dig at the governor saying lawmakers were going to spread American Rescue Plan Act dollars like the condiment across state government.
Also in 2022, Martinez became co-chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. As of the publication of this article, the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ has yet to designate committee memberships for the upcoming 2023 legislative session.
Martinez has represented House District 39 since 2016. He was reelected by default during this year’s election cycle when no one else filed for HD 39, but his potential 2024 reelection could be complicated owing to the felony DUI charge.
Article 5, Section 18 of the Oklahoma Constitution prohibits persons convicted of a felony from being elected to the Legislature. However, the section does not automatically remove an elected lawmaker from office.