Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo pleads guilty to drunken driving

McClatchy NewspapersJanuary 4, 2013 


Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho


Sen. Mike Crapo, his voice cracking as he admitted “embarrassment and shame,” was fined $250 Friday, had his driver’s license lifted for a year and received a suspended sentence of 180 days in jail on a drunken driving charge.

The Idaho Republican stood quietly with his attorney during the three-minute hearing at the second-floor courtroom in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va.

“I sincerely regret the choice I made,” he said in a statement read before a bank of television cameras on the courthouse steps after the hearing. “I’m grateful, truly grateful, no one was injured.”

Alexandria police stopped Crapo early on the morning of Dec. 23 after he ran a red light. Police said his blood alcohol level at that time was 0.11 percent. A second test at the local jail found the level at 0.14. Virginia deems it a crime to drive with a level of 0.08 or higher.

The three-term senator was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and failing to obey a traffic signal. He pleaded guilty to the first charge and the second was dropped.

Judge Becky Moore suspended the jail term, pending good behavior for one year. Crapo also will have to complete a state Alcohol Safety Action Program.

Afterward, he stood on the courthouse steps and answered questions, explaining in precise terms for the first time what had happened. He said he hadn’t been able to sleep and had been drinking vodka and tonic. He got in his car and drove from his Capitol Hill home to northern Virginia, where police stopped him after he ran the traffic light.

“I ended up in Alexandria,” he said. “I was not with anyone. I was not traveling to see anyone.”

He also said, “I was not in a position to be driving.”

In his statement, Crapo repeatedly apologized for his behavior, noting that he’s a devout Mormon and the religion frowns on alcohol use. He acknowledged that his actions were “at odds with” his church’s beliefs.

He also said he was “profoundly sorry for the pain and embarrassment” he’d brought to his family, his constituents, the Senate and “anyone else who put their trust in me.”

No testimony was given at the hearing, and no witnesses were called.

Crapo, who’s been in the Senate since 1999 and was a member of the House of Representatives before that, has gone about his regular Senate business, voting on New Year’s Day for the fiscal cliff compromise.

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