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 honoured by a Canadian actors’ union.
The arrest comes three years after the Canadian performer, 40, the son of actor Donald Sutherland, pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence and was ordered into a treatment program for alcohol abuse.
Los Angeles police said they stopped Sutherland’s car shortly near the boundaries of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood 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 TMZ.com 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 honoured 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 16 months probation, fined $500 and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service after pleading no contest, the equivalent of a guilty plea in California, to DUI, a city attorney’s spokesman said.
He filed proof of completing community service and the alcohol treatment program the following May, the spokesman said.
Sutherland last year earned an Emmy Award, U.S. television’s highest honour, 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 fourth 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.