Updated Friday, January 4, 2013 at 07:46 PM
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.
The lifelong Mormon said nothing during an appearance in Alexandria General District Court, where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol-safety program. He also agreed to a 12-month suspension of his driver’s license. The sentence is typical for first-time drunken-driving offenders in Virginia.
Outside of court and in a subsequent conference call with reporters in his home state, Crapo apologized and said he’d been drinking alcohol a few nights a week, in violation of the tenets of his Mormon faith.
Crapo said he tried alcohol for the first time about a year ago, though he couldn’t remember the details. It was a misguided attempt to relieve stress, he said, and he always kept his use of alcohol hidden, drinking alone in his Washington, D.C., apartment.
The night of his arrest was the first time he had driven drunk, Crapo said.
He said he drank “several, probably two to three” vodka tonics at his Washington home Dec. 22, became restless, couldn’t sleep and went out for a drive. It wasn’t until he’d been driving for about 30 minutes that he realized he was in no condition to drive and started to return home, he said. He ran a red light and was pulled over in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, early Dec. 23.
He failed a field-sobriety test and registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent after his arrest, police said, above the legal limit of 0.08.
No mention of his blood-alcohol level was made in court Friday, but a second test performed after Crapo was brought to the jailhouse registered at 0.14 percent, according to a law-enforcement official with knowledge of the arrest. The official wasn’t authorized to release information publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I am grateful, truly grateful, that no one was injured,” Crapo said.
He said he was not with anyone at the time, and was not coming or going from seeing anybody.
His arrest stunned colleagues and constituents alike, not only because of his squeaky-clean image but also because he had said he doesn’t drink, in accordance with his church’s practices.
Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho Republican