VALE – Ontario City Councilor Eddie Melendrez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol in Malheur County Circuit Court Wednesday, March 22.
Melendrez, 39, also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.
The case stems from a Jan. 1 incident where Melendrez was pulled over by a Malheur County sheriff’s deputy at 1:15 a.m. on Lagoon Drive in Vale.
According to police, testing showed he had a blood alcohol content of 0.12. The legal limit in Oregon is 0.08.
Along with the DUI violation, he was also was initially charged with three counts of misdemeanor reckless endangerment because three children were riding in his vehicle when he was pulled over. One of the reckless endangerment counts was dismissed by the judge.
If Melendrez completes the terms of his probation, the other two reckless endangerment charges will be dismissed.
As part of his probation agreement, Melendrez must pay a $1,000 fine and his driver’s license was suspended for a year.
He must also participate in an alcohol or drug abuse support group, obtain and pay for a drug and alcohol evaluation and complete any recommended treatment.
Melendrez will also be required to enroll, and pay for, a driving under the influence of intoxicants victims impact panel.
He also must perform 80 hours of community service.
Melendrez is a member of the Ontario School Board but did not file for another two-year term on the May election ballot.
He was elected to the city council in 2020 and ran for mayor in 2022 and finished second.
Last week, Melendrez said he “made a serious mistake.”
“Driving after consuming alcohol is never a right choice,” he said.
He said his decision to drive after consuming alcohol was one “I will regret the rest of my life.”
“I’ve dedicated nearly two decades to making our community a better place for all and I always do my best to set a positive example. But I fell short of what you expect of a community leader,” said Melendrez.
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