State controller speaks out after being hit by DUI driver



State Controller Betty yee is bruised and walking a little slower. She and her husband were riding in an unmarked California Highway Patrol cruiser when they were rear-ended in the Posey Tube in Alameda.


"It was very scary," Yee told KTVU in an interview in her Alameda home. "Out of the blue. I can say I've not slept well. The last vision that I had before blacking out was looking down on the floor of the car, as if I was suspended."


Her husband, Steven Jacobs said, "I didn't hear from her for a second, and I was panicked. And I don't panic in situations."


On Friday afternoon, Yee was being driven through the tunnel to the downtown Oakland Marriott hotel for a state Democratic party executive board meeting. Behind the wheel was an armed officer assigned to the CHP's Dignitary Protection Section.


Authorities say the suspect, 25-year-old Aaron George, tried to escape and rammed them a second time. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI.


"We did determine that the individual was under the influence of marijuana, and he was booked the next day for the charges of driving under the influence of marijuana, and it's a felony charge," said CHP Officer Herman Baza of the Oakland office.



As controller, Yee is the state's chief fiscal officer. "I'm the watchdog for all of the finances of the state," she said.


She's also given CHP protection under state law, which she didn't realize when she became controller in 2015.


"I was a little startled," she said. "I had no idea that I'd be assigned an officer."


But Yee says has no regrets about having the officer available as she handles state business.


"I'm just very, very frugal about utilizing the service," Yee said. "At the same time, I'm not going to be stupid and shortchange myself in terms of putting myself in an unsafe situation. And for any statewide official, that may be known or unknown."


The other state officials protected by the CHP  include the governor, the first lady, the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer,  superintendent of public instruction and the insurance commissioner. "Believe me, if I'm going to be doing this work, I'm going to certainly try to be the model as far as how I use taxpayer dollars," she said.


Yee and her husband say they're grateful to first responders and are counting their blessings.


"Very few times do I get scared," Jacobs said. "You go through a lot in life, but I was, you know...." He paused. "It's my wife, so...."


Yee patted her husband's shoulder. 


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