INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — East side residents reacted Tuesday to news of State Representative Dan Forestal’s drunk driving and felony impersonation arrest.
Some constituents told News 8 they were appalled by the legislator and firefighter’s “poor example” while others urged the community to withhold judgment until formal charges were filed.
Preliminary charges stemming from Forestal’s weekend arrest include driving while intoxicated, resisting law enforcement and impersonating a public servant, according to online court records.
Authorities were dispatched Saturday around 11:40 p.m. to East 21st Street and Shadeland Avenue to investigate a report of a man impersonating an officer, according to an incident report filed by Indianapolis police.
The suspect was later identified as 36-year-old legislator Dan Forestal, officials said.
He had his blood drawn, his vehicle towed and his fire department badge seized by officers, according to the police report.
Forestal was arrested and incarcerated at the Marion County Jail. He was released Sunday at 3 p.m. on $150 bond, according to online jail records.
Forestal was first elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 2012. He serves as the Assistant Democratic Caucus Chair and is the ranking minority member of the Roads and Transportation Committee.
“Everybody makes a mistake,” said Lamonti Coe, a longtime east side resident who lives in Forestal’s district. “We just have to remind him, ‘Hey, you can have fun. Just not at the expense of your own life.’ So if he made a mistake and he can better himself, let’s give him the opportunity to do that.”
Keon Townsend, another lifelong resident in Forestal’s district, said certain mistakes were unacceptable for elected officials.
“I mean, already getting stopped for drunk driving and then impersonating an officer?” he said. “[Forestal] wouldn’t get my vote.”
A representative and defense attorney for Forestal declined to comment.
A House Democratic spokesperson declined to comment on Forestal’s arrest but confirmed to News 8 his biography on the caucus website had been updated.
The online biography had previously stated Forestal was a lieutenant with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD). Following news of his arrest, department officials confirmed he was a private and not an IFD lieutenant. The erroneous information in his House biography was removed Tuesday afternoon.
Forestal and his family, including Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal, were not reachable for comment.