Michigan Lawmaker Dead After 2nd DUI Arrest

Michigan state representative John Kivela, 47, was found dead Tuesday, from what authorities say is an apparent suicide. His death comes just a day after his arrest for a 2nd DUI violation.

Kivela is a Democrat from Marquette MI, one of largest cities in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
At this point, the manner is which Kivela died has not been released.

Michigan lawmakers were in shock as word got around the Legislature about Kivela’s death. The Michigan state House was in a somber mood, and many Michigan lawmakers shed tears for their colleague and friend.

“This is probably the toughest day that we’ll experience this term,” said a tearful Speaker of the House Tom Leonard, a Republican from DeWitt, Mich.

“It’s a very sad day,” said Michigan state governor Snyder. “He was a good friend.

The apparent suicide happened just hours after Kivela was released on bond after his arrest for allegedly driving while intoxicated.
“We didn’t see his demons. Everyone is going to kick themselves right now for not trying to get a hold of him this morning and show him that we love him.”

Kivela’s is the third untimely death of Michigan House members in the last year. On June 25, 2016, state Rep. Julie Plawecki, a Democrat from Dearborn Heights, died of an apparent heart attack while hiking with her daughters in Oregon. And Rep. Peter Pettalia, a Republican from Presque Isle, died Sept. 12, 2016, when a truck pulled out in front of his motorcycle.

This was Kivela’s 2nd arrest for drunken driving in less than 2 years. He had acknowledged a drinking problem after the first arrest in 2015 and reported that he was seeking help for the problem.

Kivela was scheduled for an arraignment in court on May 18th. Polices records report that his BAC (blood alcohol level) was over .17 and falling in the classification of Michigan’s Super Drunk Law.

Kivela’s 2015 incident involved the politician speeding at 80mph when stopped by a Sheriff just north of Lansing. Kivela was chargeed at that time under Michigan Super Drunk Law, but after pleading guilty those charges were eventually dropped.

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