Sen. Michael Crapo sentenced on DWI charge, apologizes

Evan Vucci/AP - Sen. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho), right, arrives at Alexandria General District Court in Alexandria on Friday for a hearing on his drunken driving charge.

Sen. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) pleaded guilty Friday to drunk driving following a December arrest in Alexandria, and issued a sweeping apology after a judge accepted his plea.

Crapo, who appeared in Alexandria District Court, was sentenced to 180 days in jail, all of which was suspended. His license was suspended for a year, but he’s eligible for a restricted license. Crapo must also pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol program over the next year.

(AP) - Sen. Michael Crapo’s Dec. 23, 2012, booking photo, provided by the Alexandria Police Department.

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Crapo, 61, was arrested Dec. 23 after he ran a red light and told an officer who pulled him over he had had “several shots of vodka,” according to court records. He failed a field sobriety test and agreed to take a breath test, which resulted in a level of .11, exceeding Virginia’s legal limit of .08, according to the documents.

Standing outside the courthouse in Alexandria after his guilty plea, Crapo said that he had been drinking several vodka and tonics at his Capitol Hill apartment before he decided to go for a drive because he was “restless and could not sleep.” Crapo said he drove alone into Virginia.

After about 30 minutes, he said, he realized he should not have been behind the wheel and headed home. He was in a white Jeep with Idaho license plates when an officer saw him run a red light on a left turn and pulled him over shortly before 1 a.m. at the intersection of Commonwealth and Mount Vernon avenues in Alexandria.

Crapo’s speech was slurred, his eyes bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol, the officer said in court filings.

A lifelong Mormon, Crapo said that he had been keeping alcohol at his apartment for several months to “relieve stress,” a decision that was “at odds with who I am” and a behavior that is against Mormon practices.

In a sweeping apology Friday, Crapo said he knows he has disappointed his family, his faith, Idaho residents and his “senate colleagues. Public officials, he said, “should be held to a higher standard.” He said he was asking for their forgiveness and would seek forgiveness through his church for failings that were “fully” his.

Crapo said he was “profoundly sorry” and in response to a question, said it was the first time he had driven drunk. The senator said he was grateful that there had been no “tragic consequences” of his actions.

Crapo’s driver’s license is from Idaho, which he said has reciprocal privileges with Virginia and the District of Columbia. In court during an appearance that lasted less than 10 minutes, his attorney, Thomas Carter of Alexandria, had asked Judge Becky J. Moore, for an opportunity to apply for a restricted license for Crapo. Moore granted that request.

But after the hearing, Crapo said “I do not intend to drive” for the length of his year-long license suspension, a commitment that will require some adjustments in order to keep to his personal and public schedules.

 
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