A conservative U.S. senator from Idaho who has said he doesn’t drink because of his Mormon faith has been charged with drunken driving.
Sen. Michael Crapo, a three-term Republican with a reputation as a social and fiscal conservative, registered a blood alcohol content of .11 percent after police pulled his car over in this suburb south of Washington, D.C., authorities said.
The 61-year-old lawmaker, who faces a court date Jan. 4, apologized in a statement issued hours after his arrest early Sunday.
“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said in the statement Sunday night. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.”
He also said he would take measures to ensure “this circumstance is never repeated.”
Crapo, who was elected in 1998 and is in his third Senate term, is expected to take over the top Republican spot next year on the Senate Banking Committee. He also serves on the Senate’s budget and finance panels and has been active on environmental and health issues. Crapo was a member of the so-called “Gang of Six” senators that worked in 2011 toward a deficit-reduction deal that was never adopted by Congress. He also served for six years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Police in the suburb of Alexandria said Crapo was stopped early Sunday after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday He was taken to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m. Sunday.
“There was no refusal (to take blood alcohol tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.”
Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol level of .11 percent. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08 percent.
In Virginia, the driver’s license of anyone who registers a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher is automatically suspended for seven days. A first-time conviction for DUI carries a mandatory, minimum $250 fine and license revocation for one year, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
A Crapo spokesman declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Crapo had told The Associated Press in past interviews that he abstains from drinking alcohol.
A Mormon who grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Crapo was named a bishop in the church at age 31. He is an attorney who graduated from Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School. He has five children with his wife, Susan, and three grandchildren.
The Mormon church prohibits the use of alcohol, as well as coffee, tea and other substances. About one-quarter of Idaho residents are Mormon.
Associated Press writers Norman Gomlak in Atlanta and Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press