May 26, 2015 / 11:25 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. playwright, actor Sam Shepard arrested on drunken driving charge

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Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard is shown in this booking photo from the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico in this handout photo released to Reuters May 26, 2015.Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility/Handout via Reuters

(Reuters) - Actor and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard was arrested in New Mexico on suspicion of drunken driving, police said on Tuesday.

Shepard, 71, told police he had consumed roughly two tequila drinks at a downtown Santa Fe restaurant on Monday evening, police spokeswoman Andrea Dobyns said.

He refused a breath test and was arrested outside the eatery after failing a field sobriety test, Dobyns said.

The restaurant's security staff had called police to report an intoxicated patron trying to drive a pickup truck with the vehicle's emergency brake engaged,

"The officers said he was compliant, but had bloodshot watery eyes and the officers were able to smell the alcohol," Dobyns said.

Shepard was booked into the Santa Fe County Jail on a charge of aggravated driving while intoxicated, according to online records.

The records showed he spent the night in jail, and a clerk said he was being arraigned in Santa Fe Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

A representative for Shepard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shepard's plays include "Buried Child," for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979, "True West," "Curse of the Starving Class" and "Fool for Love."

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of test pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 movie "The Right Stuff."

He has appeared in dozens of other films, including "August: Osage County," "The Notebook," "Black Hawk Down" and "Steel Magnolias."

In 2009, Shepard was arrested in central Illinois and charged with speeding and drunken driving after telling police he had stopped at a tavern before heading to a hotel, the Bloomington, Illinois, Pantagraph newspaper reported.

Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Cooney

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