Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek Arrested for Drunk Driving

Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek

Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek has been arrested for drunk driving, the Nebraska State Patrol and the city of Grand Island confirmed Sunday.

The NSP said Sunday that a citizen was the one who called in the report Saturday evening, and provided a vehicle description and license plate number that matched Vavricek's.

Around 6 p.m. Saturday, an NSP trooper pulled over the same vehicle for driving on the shoulder on Highway 281 in Howard County, arresting Vavricek on suspicion of driving under the influence.

In a statement Sunday afternoon, Vavricek addressed the arrest, saying, "I am sorry and embarrassed for the events that have occurred in the last 24 hours. I apologize to my family, those dependent on me, and my community, and will take corrective action so they will never be affected like this again."

"Since this matter will be addressed in the judicial system, Vavricek has no further comment," the city of Grand Island said in a press release Sunday, adding, "Furthermore, since this is a personal matter, city staff will also have no comment."

Vavricek is awaiting the results of a blood test performed by police.

It's been a rocky year for the mayor. He was given a censure and a public reprimand by the city council after clashing over his decision to ask the city administrator to resign, then bringing her back.

He was also the target of a petition campaign seeking to recall him from office, but the organizer failed to turn in the necessary signatures.

Council members we spoke with said they are disappointed by news of Vavricek's arrest.

"It's unfortunate at this point -- it's all I can say," Grand Island City Council President Bob Niemann said. "I talked to him about it this afternoon. We're meeting tomorrow, don't know what his plans are. I think he's a pretty decent person. He wouldn't have wanted this to happen. It'll be up to him to make up his mind about what he wants to do. He's discussed it with his family."

"I feel bad for his family and him," city council member Scott Dugan said. Dugan said it's disappointing and he doesn't know how this will unfold. "People make decisions, and all elected officials are held to a higher standard."

This past week, Vavricek sent thousands of glossy mailers to residents, promoting his "state of the city" goals. He did so out of pocket, saying no tax dollars were used.

Vavricek said he valued openness and transparency so much, he placed his personal cell phone number on the mailing.

"When you put your personal cell number it just shows I can be reached anytime," he said.

On the day before the arrest for suspicion of drunk driving, he said his goal was to serve the people well as mayor.

"I enjoy public service and want to do the best job I can as mayor," he told NTV.

NTV will continue to bring you updates as we receive them.