Kiefer Sutherland arrested for drunk driving

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kiefer Sutherland, who stars on the hit TV thriller “24” as a secret agent with nerves of steel, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on Tuesday, hours before he was due to be honored by a Canadian actors’ union.

Kiefer Sutherland poses as he arrives at the party for the launch of the DVD of season five of television series '24' in Hollywood, California December 4, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The arrest comes as the Canadian performer, 40, the son of actor Donald Sutherland, remains on probation for driving under the influence in a previous case that landed him in a court-ordered treatment program for alcohol abuse.

Los Angeles police said they stopped Sutherland’s car near the boundaries of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood shortly after 1 a.m. after he was seen making an illegal U-turn.

A breath test found him to be over the legal blood-alcohol limit, and he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, a police spokeswoman said.

She said Sutherland was taken to the police station in Hollywood, where he posted $25,000 bail and was released. He is due to appear in court on October 16.

No further details were available, but the celebrity news Web site quoted an unnamed police source as describing Sutherland as “cooperative and mellow” while in custody.

The arrest came hours before Sutherland, who spent much of his boyhood in Toronto, was to be honored by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) at the residence of Canada’s Consul General in Los Angeles.

An ACTRA spokeswoman said the awards ceremony would go on as planned but be closed to the media. A spokeswoman for the actor said he would attend, but she declined further comment.

In 2004, Sutherland was placed on five years probation, fined $500 and ordered into an alcohol treatment program after pleading no contest, the equivalent of a guilty plea in California, to DUI, a city attorney’s spokesman said.

Assuming the arrest leads to formal charges, it would be up to the judge who handled Sutherland’s previous case to decide if he violated probation. The same judge, Michael Sauer, sentenced celebrity socialite Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail for breaching her probation in a previous DUI case.

Sutherland last year earned an Emmy Award, U.S. television’s highest honor, for his role as the globe-trotting, terrorist-fighting agent Jack Bauer on “24,” one of Fox network’s top-rated shows.

Averaging 13.5 million viewers earlier this year, the show returns to the airwaves for its seventh season in January.

There was no official word from the network or producers of “24,” but a source close to the series said Sutherland’s arrest was not expected to affect production of the show.