Murrieta Mayor Alan Long was arrested Thursday on suspicion of seriously injuring four high school students while driving drunk, police said.
The Murrieta high school students, who are 14 to 17 years old, suffered moderate to major injuries and were transported to area hospitals.
Long, 44, of Murrieta, was driving south on Jefferson Avenue toward Lily Avenue in a full-sized truck about 8:18 p.m. when he crashed into the rear of the students' vehicle, according to a police statement.
Police said Long, who is also a battalion chief with the Anaheim Fire Department, showed "signs and symptoms consistent with alcohol impairment."
He was taken into custody after failing a series of sobriety field tests, police said.
Long's attorney, Virginia Blumenthal, insisted that the mayor's blood-alcohol level was "well below" the legal limit.
She also said the Long rendered aid to the students at the scene and expressed expressed "deep concern for the safety and well-being of those" who were injured.
"He extends his sincere apologies for this accident to each of them and to their families as well as to the residents of the city of Murrieta," his attorney said.
Long was elected in November 2010 with the "highest number of votes," according his biography on the city's website.
In July, Long became a prominent defender of protests that blocked federal officials from housing some immigrant detainees, including unaccompanied children, at a facility in the city.