Robin Abcarian, the LA Times columnist, stopped in to see her Venice neighbor Bree Walker this morning. They talked about the event that re-injected the former CBS 2 anchor into the news stream last week: Walker's arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in Anaheim, and the release of a police mug shot that showed her looking, in Walker's words, like rocker Steven Tyler. She acknowledges she is an alcoholic who has been in treatment before, and may go again. "I’m embarrassed and humiliated and ashamed of myself,” Walker told Abcarian.
“I am nervous about coverage these days,” said Walker, a high-profile television news anchor in Los Angeles from 1988 to 1994 who was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence. “I didn’t expect this story would have traction. I feel like I have been in shock and don’t trust the decisions that I am making even though I am trying to be lucid.”
Over the course of a two-hour conversation, she seemed entirely lucid, particularly in light of the unfortunate personal situation that had suddenly thrust her into the headlines.
Last Tuesday, Walker said, she had been in San Diego, where her son, Aaron, lives. While driving home on Interstate 5 with her 5-year-old pit bull, Petey, she missed the turnoff for the 405 Freeway. Trying to make her way to the 405, she ended up on surface streets in Anaheim.
It was just after midnight on Wednesday when police there pulled her over for a red-light violation. They said she seemed disheveled and noticed an empty vodka bottle in her car. She failed a field sobriety test, but would not submit to a Breathalyzer, said police, who handcuffed her and took her into custody.
She spent the night in jail; Petey went to the animal shelter. Her Fiat 500c -- the “Peteymobile”-- was impounded.
Walker had no idea that her arrest, and her mugshot, were about to blow up. Nor did it occur to her to try to spin the news.
“When they offered me a phone call, I couldn’t even make one. There was no one I wanted to see me in my shame,” she said, sitting at a desk in her living room.