Maryland Del. John R. Hargreaves, chairman of the influential House Appropriations Committee, was arrested early yesterday and charged with driving while intoxicated after a state trooper saw the legislator's car moving erratically along Riva Road in Annapolis.
The 66-year-old Hargreaves, who represents three Eastern Shore counties, was taken before Court Commissioner Sam Stokes in Annapolis after the 2:30 a.m. arrest and released on personal recognizance bond. No trial date has been set.
Hargreaves said yesterday afternoon he planned to retain an attorney in the case but had not yet done so. Until he could consult with an attorney, he said, he would not comment on whether he had been drinking.
He did say that he had attended several meetings in the state capital Tuesday afternoon, leaving the last -- a discussion of Medicaid -- at 7:30 p.m. and going to Fran O'Brien's restaurant for dinner. Hargreaves said he stayed at Fran O'Brien's until 1:30 a.m. or later, and then headed towards the Thrift Inn in Annapolis where he was staying. He was on his way to that motel when he was arrested, he said.
Yesterday's arrest marked the second time in little more than a month that Hargreaves has been charged with a violation of Maryland's transportation laws. On Sept. 13, toll facilities police issued the legislator a ticket for refusing to pay the $1.25 toll as he crossed the Bay Bridge from Annapolis to the Eastern Shore.
According to Sgt. William Hasenei of the toll facilities police, Hargreaves refused to pay the toll after being informed by the toll-taker that his commuter tickets were invalid since he did not have the appropriate sticker on his windshield. Hargreaves said that he did not have the sticker only because he was driving his wife's new 1980 station wagon, and that his commuter ticket should be accepted.
After Hargreaves drove through the toll without paying the $1.25, a police car pulled him over a short distance from the toll booth, and an officer wrote him a ticket. Hargreaves is scheduled to appear in Anne Arundel County District Court Oct. 22 on the toll evasion charge, but an assistant state's attorney said the appearance would be unnecessary if Hargreaves paid a $30 fine.
Hargreaves confirmed yesterday the officer's version of events and said he intended to contest the charge. "It's a matter or principle," he said. "I did not refuse to pay. The [commuter] ticket was still in the book, it was good, it was a valid ticket."
The car had no sticker, he said "because I hadn't had time to get a new sticker and you can't get the damn things off the old car once they're stuck on."