U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Texas Democrat vying to replace U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, contradicted police reports Friday by denying he tried to flee the scene of a 1998 drunken car crash.
O’Rourke was asked about the incident during a debate against Cruz at Southern Methodist University.
“I did not try to leave the scene of the accident, though driving drunk, which I did, is a terrible mistake for which there is no excuse or justification or defense,” O’Rourke said. “I can only tell you that I was able to have a second chance in my life.”
“I did not try to leave the scene of the accident, though driving drunk, which I did, is a terrible mistake for which there is no excuse or justification or defense.”
But O’Rourke’s comments appear to contradict the police reports published by the Houston Chronicle last month that claimed O’Rourke “attempted to leave the scene” after he lost control of his car and hit another vehicle in 1998.
“The driver attempted to leave the accident but was stopped by the [witness],” a police officer wrote, according to the police report.
“The driver attempted to leave the accident but was stopped by the [witness].”
The witness, who also called 911, reportedly “turned on his overhead lights to warn oncoming traffic and to try to get [O’Rourke] to stop,” the report continued.
This was the first time O’Rourke has challenged reports of the incident. Last month, he acknowledged that he “drove drunk and was arrested for DWI in 1998.” He didn’t deny he tried to flee the scene.
The officer went on to state that O’Rourke was visibly intoxicated and “unable to be understood due to slurred speech.”
O’Rourke recorded 0.136 and 0.134 blood alcohol levels on Breathalyzer tests, the records said. The state legal limit at the time was 0.10. The charges of DWI were later dismissed after he completed a court-approved diversion program, the Chronicle reported.