Idaho senator pleads guilty to DWI charge in Va.

MATTHEW BARAKAT Associated Press Published:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- Idaho Republican Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor first-offense drunken driving charge in a Virginia court.

In exchange for his plea Friday, prosecutors dropped a charge of failing to obey a traffic signal. Crapo received a $250 fine and a 12-month suspension of his driver's license and must complete an alcohol safety program.

Police said Crapo was pulled over Dec. 23 for running a red light and registered a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

After the hearing Friday, Crapo gave a statement outside the Alexandria City courthouse, apologizing for his actions. Crapo said he had been drinking vodka and tonic at home on the night of the offense, became restless, couldn't sleep and went out for a drive.

He had been driving for about 30 minutes when he realized he was in no condition to drive and started to return home, he said. It was then that he ran a red light and was pulled over.

"I am grateful, truly grateful, that no one was injured," Crapo said.

Crapo said that he was not with anyone at the time, that he was not going to see anyone, and he 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's Mormon and had said he doesn't drink, in accordance with his church's practices.

He said it was the first time he had ever driven drunk but that he has, in the last year or so, been drinking alcohol on occasion. He apologized for that.

"As a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have endeavored all my life to be an outstanding member" of the church, Crapo said. "I will carry through on appropriate measures for forgiveness and repentance in my church."

Crapo said he felt like he owed people a full explanation of his behavior and took questions outside the courthouse.

As long as he remains on good behavior, Crapo won't have to serve a 180-day suspended jail sentence.

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