Oct 20 (Reuters) - A southern California mayor who was arrested last week on suspicion of drunken driving in an accident that injured four teenagers announced his resignation on Monday.
Murrieta Mayor Alan Long, who gained national attention in the summer when he led a local backlash against a plan to process illegal Central American immigrants in the town, said he stepped down both as Mayor and as a city council member.
"I do not believe under the circumstances it is appropriate for me to remain in these positions," Long said in a statement sent by his attorney Virginia Blumenthal.
"I fear that would only distract from the very important discussions we must all have on the future of our city," he added.
Long, 44, was arrested last Thursday on suspicion of causing injury while driving under the influence after his truck crashed into a car carrying four Murrieta Valley High School students, Murrieta police said in a statement. He was still at the scene of the crash when police arrived.
Long was released from jail early last Friday on $50,000 bond, according to the detention center's website. He is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 11.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that the car rear-ended by the mayor's vehicle contained four cheerleaders. The police said all four suffered "moderate to major injuries."
Long gained national attention in June and July when he led a public outcry over U.S. plans for hundreds of Central American children and adults caught illegally crossing from Mexico into Texas to be transferred to a U.S. Border Patrol office in Murrieta, 60 miles (97 km) north of San Diego, for processing.
Long will remain on the ballot for the upcoming City Council elections in November he said, saying he expects to be fully exonerated. (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Pullin)