Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) was driving at “a high rate of speed” when he was arrested for drunk driving in 1998 and then tried to drive away from the scene, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing a witness account contained in police reports.
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The Chronicle says state and local police reports obtained by the newspaper about the incident contain a witness account describing how O’Rourke, who’s challenging Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R-Texas) for his Senate seat, was driving at “a high rate of speed” in a 75 mph zone.
The witness describes how O’Rourke then lost control of his car and hit a truck, which sent his car towards oncoming lanes, according to the Chronicle.
The witness also said O’Rourke tried to drive away from the scene.
O’Rourke was arrested at the scene of the crime, but eventually had the charges dismissed after completing a court-approved diversion program.
The congressman has repeatedly acknowledged and previously apologized for his DWI arrest, though he has not disclosed details about the incident.
“I drove drunk and was arrested for a DWI in 1998. As I’ve publicly discussed over the last 20 years, I made a serious mistake for which there is no excuse,” O’Rourke said in a brief statement sent to The Hill on Friday.
O’Rourke has also acknowledged and apologized for another arrest in 1995 when he was caught jumping a fence at a University of Texas-El Paso facility. He has said he was not convicted in that case.
The details behind O’Rourke’s arrest come after the Texas GOP tweeted a mugshot of O’Rourke, claiming it was from his DWI arrest. The tweet was taking a shot at O’Rourke after he declined to appear in a debate with Cruz scheduled for Friday.
There’s always the chance that Robert “Beto” O’Rourke won’t debate Senator Cruz because he got into a hazy situation… pic.twitter.com/4nmd42AEkl
— Texas GOP (@TexasGOP) August 28, 2018
Recent polls have shown O’Rourke in a statistical tie with Cruz, raising hopes the Democrat can pull off an unexpected win in deep-red Texas. The Cook Political Report currently rates the seat as “lean Republican.”