Actor's arraignment continued again

June 10, 2003 11:00 pm

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

The media was there, but actor Robert Conrad — scheduled to be arraigned on two felony drunken driving charges in Calaveras County Superior Court — was a no-show.

His attorney, Timothy Pemberton of Markleeville, told visiting Judge Duane Martin that Conrad had suffered a spinal cord injury in the springtime accident for which he is charged, and is in rehabilitation at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Pemberton said Conrad is expected to be discharged July 25.

Martin continued the arraignment until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13.

After the hearing, Pemberton spoke with reporters representing area newspapers, a Sacramento television station and a cameraman from the television show, "Celebrity Justice."

Pemberton said Conrad has partial paralysis in his arms and is undergoing speech therapy.

Pemberton said Conrad "feels very optimistic," despite the fact that the paralysis has not diminished.

Conrad has not yet entered a plea, Pemberton said.

The veteran actor, 68, was driving west on Highway 4 near Arnold on March 31 when his car crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car, injuring Kevin Burnett of Forest Meadows. California Highway Patrol reports said Conrad was intoxicated and listed his injuries as "moderate."

Burnett was taken to Memorial Hospital in Modesto and underwent surgery for multiple fractures to his left leg.

Conrad was arrested at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto later that night.

The actor faces two felony drunken-driving charges — one for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury, and the other for driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 and causing injury.

Calaveras County District Attorney Jeff Tuttle has said Conrad's blood-alcohol level that night was .22 percent. The legal limit is .08. If convicted, Conrad could face from 90 days in the county jail to three years in state prison.

Conrad has appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, and is best known for his portrayal of James T. West in the 1960s TV series "The Wild Wild West." He and his wife, Lavelda, own homes in Murphys and Bear Valley.