Clayton Perry makes first, brief court appearance in DWI, hit-and-run case

San Antonio Councilman faces two misdemeanor charges for DWI & failure to stop and give information

San AntonioThis article has been updated with the results of the Tuesday court appearance

San Antonio Councilman Clayton Perry briefly appeared before a judge Tuesday for the first time since police say he drove drunk and fled the scene of a head-on car crash on Nov. 6.

The District 10 councilman had a pretrial conference scheduled Tuesday morning in Bexar County Court-at-Law 12 for two charges stemming from the incident: DWI and failure to stop and give information. Both are class B misdemeanors, punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

Perry appeared virtually as part of Judge Yolanda Huff’s morning docket, but said nothing beyond confirming his presence with a “here, your honor.”

The rest of his appearance was delayed after his attorney, David Christian, successfully got the court date reset to Mar. 8.

Christian told Judge Huff that he and the prosecutor had an opportunity to confer on the case that morning, but they were “still conferring on it and trying to come up with some resolution.”

It’s not the first delay in the case. Perry was originally scheduled to appear on Dec. 12 for the failure to stop and give information charge, but his court date was delayed in anticipation of the DWI case, for which he ended up being booked later that month.

San Antonio Councilman Clayton Perry was booked Nov. 10, 2022 for failure to stop and give information in a crash with $200 or more worth of damage. He was booked again on Dec. 28, 2022 for DWI. Both charges are class B misdemeanors. (KSAT)

San Antonio Police say the North Side councilman had 14 alcoholic drinks at the Evil Olive Bar & Grill over the course of four hours on the night of Nov. 6, shortly before the crash.

After a trip to the Bill Miller Bar-B-Q location across the street in which he didn’t order food but was told to leave, police say Perry drove his Jeep Wrangler Rubicon head-on into a Honda Civic while trying to turn right from Jones Maltsberger Road onto Redland Road.

Police say Perry fled the scene, and an SAPD officer found him lying in his back yard a little over an hour later, bleeding from the head and smelling of alcohol.

However, the officer had not seen Perry behind the wheel, and the North Side councilman denied having driven. So he was not subjected to a sobriety test or arrested that night.

Still from SAPD Bodycam video of encounter with Councilman Clayton Perry (KSAT 2022)

Instead, Perry was booked on Nov. 10 on a charge failure to stop and give information in a crash with more than $200 worth of damages.

After additional investigation, SAPD filed an at-large case for DWI for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office to review. He was booked on the DWI charge Dec. 28.

On Nov. 14, a few days after his arrest, Perry admitted his involvement in the crash and announced his plan to take a leave of absence from the city council.

“During this time, I’ll be taking the appropriate measures as determined by medical professionals to ensure this will never, never happen again,” Perry told his fellow council members.

The rest of the city council passed a vote of “no confidence” against Perry during the same meeting. However, most of them first agreed to scrap a call for Perry to resign.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who has maintained that Perry should resign if the accusations against him are true, was the lone vote against removing the resignation request from the “no confidence” vote. Jalen McKee-Rodriguez abstained from the vote, which he told KSAT he “immediately” regretted.

After less than two months away, Perry returned to council on Jan. 12, telling his colleagues “I kept my commitment I made at the last meeting to follow all the appropriate measures as recommended by medical experts and will continue to do so.”

Clayton Perry avoided reporters' questions as he returned to City Council on Jan. 12, 2023 following a two month leave of absence. (KSAT)

Although the councilman spoke to reporters for several minutes after his initial arrest on Nov. 10, he has largely kept his comments since to prepared remarks.

He ducked questions from reporters multiple times on the day of his return and skipped a council briefing that afternoon, though his chief of staff said it was to handle a personal matter.

Clayton Perry has held the District 10 council seat since 2017. He is eligible for a fourth and final term in the city's May 6 election. (City of San Antonio)

Perry’s council seat is up for election on May 6 - as are the other nine council districts and the mayor’s office. It is not clear yet if he intends to run for a fourth and final term.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, no one had applied to run for the District 10 seat.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.