The chairman of the Prince George’s County liquor board who was arrested on drunken driving and other charges after leaving the MGM National Harbor casino on opening night has stepped down from his position.
The resignation of Charles W. Caldwell III from the board comes the same day authorities released a police report indicating he attempted to leverage his position on the commission to get out of his arrest, asking officers while he was detained on Thursday, “Is there any way we can make this go away?”
Caldwell, who has publicly denied he was impaired, was charged with DUI, reckless driving and related traffic offenses after police said he was involved in a collision with two other vehicles outside the newly opened casino last week.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who appointed Caldwell to chair the Prince George’s Board of License Commissioners last year, asked Caldwell to step down from the post.
“Under these circumstances, the governor does not have the authority to remove Mr. Caldwell from the board,” Shareese DeLeaver-Churchill, a spokeswoman for Hogan said in a statement Tuesday evening. “However, the governor is very concerned and disappointed in this situation and has asked Mr. Caldwell to step down from his role as chairman, which he has agreed to do.”
The current vice-chair of the board, which oversees more than 600 stores, restaurants and other entities that sell liquor in the county, will lead the board until a new chair is selected.
After the announcement of his resignation, Caldwell directed questions to his attorney, William C. Brennan who said it was his policy not to comment on pending cases.
Caldwell has said that he took a breath test at the collision scene, that the results were inconclusive and that his age made him unsteady on his feet during the incident. The police report indicates that he refused to keep his head still during the breath test, preventing officers from completing the procedure to obtain a reading of his blood alcohol concentration.
Caldwell was among the VIPs visiting the grand opening of the casino and entertainment venue located at National Harbor.
While leaving the casino, Caldwell’s car was involved in the collision at Monument and MGM National avenues about 11:40 p.m. Thursday, police said.
During a field sobriety test and his interactions with officers, Caldwell fell at least three times, said he had no memory of the crash, had to lean against an officer’s cruiser to maintain balance and was prevented from falling by officers, the police report said.
The report also states that Caldwell, who had an “overpowering smell” of alcohol on his breath, was cocky, uncooperative and sarcastic during his dealings with police and told them he had issues with his balance.
After officers took him to a police station, he was “very uncooperative and at [times] refused to [follow] officers commands such as not sitting on the bench in the breath testing room,” the report stated.
Caldwell’s speech, police said in the report, was so slurred and mumbled that he was difficult to understand and he would also “ask the same question over and over then argue with officers.”
In an interview last week, Caldwell said he was not impaired and said the incident was more of a “scrape” than a crash. He said he’d had “a cocktail or two over four hours” at the VIP party. The police report indicates Caldwell told officers he had one drink.
“Yes — unfortunately I’m 72 turning 73 next week, and I’m a little unsteady on my feet,” Caldwell said in his public comment Friday about failing the field sobriety test.
Caldwell is expected to receive a court summons and does not yet have a court date, according to online records.
Caldwell is the second Prince George’s public official to be charged with drunken driving in recent weeks. Prince George’s County Council member Mel Franklin (D-Upper Marlboro) was charged in late November after rear-ending a stopped vehicle and injuring two people inside. Franklin has declined to comment.