O'Malley refused Breathalyzer in 1987 arrest, police report says

November 10, 2006|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,sun reporter

Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley refused a Breathalyzer test during his 1987 arrest on a drunken-driving charge in Montgomery County, according to a copy of the incident's police report posted on the Web site of WBAL Radio.

An officer with the Chevy Chase Village Police Department said in the report that O'Malley, driving a 1982 Chevrolet Malibu, was speeding and swerving in and out of lanes before being pulled over about 5 a.m. Aug. 8, 1987, on Montgomery Avenue in Bethesda.

The report - the most detailed account of the incident since it was reported by The Sun last month - described indications of intoxication and said that O'Malley was arrested after refusing a Breathalyzer test.

O'Malley called his father, who was a well-known attorney in Montgomery, and was released. He pleaded not guilty and was later acquitted.

Yesterday, O'Malley spokesman Steve Kearney said, "We have a lot of work to do getting ready for the next four years. We're not going to roll around in the mud about a 20-year-old not-guilty verdict that everyone already knows about."

In an interview with WBAL-TV yesterday, O'Malley disputed the report, which the broadcaster and The Sun had sought through the Freedom of Information Act.

"I didn't [refuse it], and it happened 20 years ago. I was found not guilty ... . You know, some people want to go back 20 years and retry this. I can't do that."

O'Malley, then a 24-year-old law student, told one officer he had drunk three beers, according to the report. But later, "when asked if he had anything to drink he stated, `Nothing.'"

"The defendant was asked to step out of the vehicle and perform [a] field sobriety test," the report says. "At this time a strong odor of alcohol was detected on the defendant's breath and also his eyes were watery. Just before being asked to step out of the vehicle the defendant plowed chewing tobacco into his mouth to apparently hide the odor of alcohol."

Before refusing the Breathalyzer, O'Malley performed a series of field sobriety tests in which he stated the alphabet correctly but failed a heel-to-toe walk, a one-leg stand and walking a certain number of steps in each direction, the report says.

"The defendant was given instructions on how to perform the one-leg stand," the report says. "On this test the defendant asked this writer to repeat the instructions again. While performing the test the defendant could not keep his leg in the air and to count to 30 in numerical order."

Court records show that O'Malley went on trial in January 1988 after several postponements. During the trial, the judge granted a motion to throw out evidence in the case.


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