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N.C. House investigating lawmaker for alcohol, hugging page

The N.C. House is investigating a lawmaker accused of showing up Monday intoxicated and inappropriately hugging a teenage page.

The lawmaker, Rep. Cary Allred, a Burlington Republican, started his evening Monday by being pulled over for speeding by a state trooper. House colleagues said when he arrived they smelled alcohol on him, and several people saw him hug and kiss a 17-year-old page. Before the night was over, Allred sparred in debate with the House speaker and the leader of his own party, who at one point tugged at Allred's jacket to get him to be quiet.

On Thursday, Allred denied in an interview any inappropriate or drunken behavior.

Allred was stopped about 6 p.m. Monday for speeding on Interstate 40 between Burlington and Raleigh. He explained to the state trooper that he was on his way to the House of Representatives to vote, Allred said. Allred said the trooper asked him to produce identification beyond his driver's license, and he showed the trooper his legislative ID. The trooper let Allred go with an admonishment to slow down, Allred said.

Allred declined to say how fast he was going, but he said it was slower than the trooper claimed, a speed that he also declined to specify. A Highway Patrol spokesman said Thursday that he was trying to confirm the details of the stop.

House Speaker Joe Hackney, an Orange County Democrat, said he heard from various people who witnessed Allred's behavior in the House chamber.

"Speeding is not in my jurisdiction, but the other two incidents, it appear, have to do with conduct on the House floor. I have simply asked the House sergeant at arms, who is in charge of the House floor together with me, to conduct what I would characterize as a preliminary inquiry to gather whatever facts there are to determine if any referral beyond this stage is appropriate," Hackney said.

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