Dover Councilman charged with DUI: Tanner W. Polce says he will contest the allegation in court

Tanner W. Polce

DOVER —  A recently-elected city councilman who is also the policy director for Delaware’s lieutenant governor was charged with driving under the influence after a crash north of Middletown over the weekend, police said Tuesday.

Tanner Wm. Polce, 26, of Dover, was driving a 2016 Toyota Camry that struck another vehicle after allegedly running a stop sign at the intersection of Del. 71 (Red Lion Road) and Chesapeake City Road at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, according to Delaware State Police.

The 55-year-old driver of a 2003 Honda Accord and a 47-year-old passenger were taken from the scene by ambulance to Christiana Hospital. Both men were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police spokesman Master Cpl. Jeffrey R. Hale said.

Mr. Polce was not injured.

Contacted by a reporter on Tuesday, Mr. Polce, a Democrat, issued a statement acknowledging the incident while questioning the validity of the DUI charge.

“This past Sunday, while visiting with my mother, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident,” he said in the statement. “Thankfully, accordingly to all reports, no one was seriously injured.

“The responding officer issued a citation regarding facts underlying the motor vehicle accident, including a citation for driving under the influence of alcohol. I contest this allegation and look forward to proving my innocence in Court.

“This, however, has been a truly eye opening experience and an even larger learning experience. Throughout the campaign trail, I promised to serve my constituents with dignity and integrity. I vow to continue to serve in that exact manner.

“I ask for your continued support while this difficult situation is resolved.”

Keith Warren, chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, released a statement on Tuesday:

“Tanner Polce was involved in an auto accident on Sunday evening. While I am pleased to learn there were no serious injuries, I am very disappointed that alcohol may have been a factor.”

Mr. Polce’s Toyota Camry was traveling westbound on Chesapeake City Road at the time of the collision, and the Honda Accord was headed north on Del. 71, police said.

Other charges against Mr. Polce included failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield right of way, and inattentive driving.

He was issued a summons to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.

Mr. Polce was elected as Dover City Council’s 1st District representative on April 18 and sworn into office May 8. He replaced Councilman James Hutchison, who opted not to run for office when his current term expired.

According to a pre-election biography Mr. Polce submitted to the media, he graduated from Wesley College with a political science degree and earned a Masters of Business Administration degree. He listed his affiliations as adjunct faculty at Wesley, and joint appointment for the School of Business and Political Science Department.

Mr. Polce reported that he’d lived in Dover for approximately 7 1/2 years.

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