Former Redskins quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, in an unusual agreement negotiated with city prosecutors, pleaded guilty yesterday in D.C. Superior Court to speeding and two other traffic charges in exchange for dismissal of a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
As part of the agreement, Jurgensen, 44, now a sports commentator for the CBS television network and its Washington affiliate, WDVM, has arranged for inner-city children to participate in programs he hosts here, according to Geoffrey M. Alprin, chief of the criminal division of the D.C. corporation counsel's office.
Jurgensen has also agreed to see a doctor determine if there is a "problem" that requires medical attention, Alprin said.
During a hearing before Judge Joseph M. Hannon, Jurgensen pleaded guilty to speeding, failure to drive in the proper lane and failure to yield to a police vehicle. The charges carry a total of eight penalty points automatically assessed against Jurgensen's right to drive a motor vehicle in the Districe.
As a result, he will have to appear at a hearing before a board of the city's Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services on possible suspension of his driving privileges in Washington. Jurgensen lives in Mount Vernon, Va.
After accepting Jurgensen's guilty pleas, Hannon placed Jurgensen on unsupervised probation for one year.
The charges stemmed from an incident at 1:40 a.m. June 13, when a District police officer saw Jurgensen allegedly staggering outside the Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue NW, Assistant Corporation Counsel Richard Nettler told Hannon yesterday. Nettler also said the police officer reported that Jurgensen had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.
Jurgensen said yesterday that he had attended a dinner for CBS station affiliates at the hotel that evening.
The police officer asked Jurgensen if he was driving that night and Jurgensen said he was staying at the hotel, the prosecutor said. Ten minutes later, the same officer saw Jurgensen driving rapidly south on 17th Street NW and not keeping in the proper lane of traffic, Nettler said.
After a brief chase, Jurgensen stopped, was arrested and was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding. Nettler said, Jurgensen refused to take a Breathalzer test at the police station, the corporation counsel's office said.
Jurgensen said in an interview yesterday that he had been taking weight-control pills at the time of the incident, had lost 35 pounds and that the combination of the weight loss, the pills and some alcohol may have affected his behavior that evening.
Alprin said his office agreed to the plea arrangement because Jurgensen is a first offender who holds a responsible position in the city and has a long history of community service.
As he waited for his court appearance yesterday, Jurgensen signed a few autographs and shook hands with court employes, lawyers and admirers who passed him in the hallway.
"I'm glad it's over," he said as he left the courthouse.