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Actor Sam Shepard arrested on drunken driving charges

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Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard

Oscar-nominated actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was arrested on Monday night on suspicion of drunken driving in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Security at a Santa Fe restaurant called police after spotting a man trying to drive away in a blue Toyota Tacoma, police said. He couldn’t leave because the emergency brake was still on.

“People were concerned that the man was intoxicated,” police Lt. Andrea Dobyns said in a statement.

“Officers arrived on scene, found the male who was later identified as the actor Sam Shepard, attempting to drive away in the Toyota truck,” she said. “Officers spoke to Mr. Shepard, and they smelled alcohol and had bloodshot watery eyes.”

Shepard told officers he had two tequila drinks at the restaurant and was trying to drive home, police said.

He refused a breath test, they said. While he stepped out of his car and performed a field sobriety test, “officers observed enough clues that lead to his arrest.”

After spending Monday night in jail, he was arraigned on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated DUI, according to police.

Efforts to contact Shepard’s representatives for comment have not been successful.

Shepard was previously arrested on a drunken driving charge in January 2009, according to the Smoking Gun. Soon after, he split from longtime partner Jessica Lange.

Shepard was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting role as Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film “The Right Stuff” and has appeared in “The Notebook,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Steel Magnolias.” He has most recently been seen in the Netflix series “Bloodline.”

A noted playwright, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1979 for his play “Buried Child” and was nominated in the same category for “True West” (1983) and “Fool for Love” (1984).