The former police officer who arrested Beto O’Rourke for drunken driving in 1998 has no doubt the incident report he filed on the crash is accurate.
O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman who ran for Senate in 2018 and is running for president in 2020, claimed at a debate against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, last year that he did not leave the scene of a crash while he was intoxicated.
“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, and I will not try to provide one,” he said about the 1998 crash.
Richard Carrera, the officer who arrested the then-26-year-old O’Rourke and is now retired, told the Texas Tribune he remembers the incident differently.
“I believe we have contradicting stories here,” he said. “I stand by my report.”
Carrera’s then supervisor, Gary Hargrove, who signed the incident report, said O’Rourke “did something to lead the officers to believe that he was trying to get away.”
“What they put down, I believed them,” he said of the incident report.
Carrera’s report said O’Rourke “almost fell to the floor” when asked to get out of his vehicle. His blood/breath alcohol concentration levels were 0.136 and 0.134.
[Opinion: Beto O'Rourke lied in his first debate about his drunken driving crash]
A witness to the crash said O’Rourke had driven by him at a high rate of speed in a 75 miles per hour zone, then lost control of his vehicle, and “struck a truck traveling the same direction.” O’Rourke’s vehicle then crossed the center median and came to a stop.
“The defendant/driver then attempted to leave the scene,” Carrera reported.
Chris Evans, an O’Rourke spokesman, told the Texas Tribune, "The police report shows he was arrested for a DWI not for leaving or attempting to leave the scene."
Carrera said he did not remember whether there were discussions about charging O’Rourke for attempting to flee the scene.
Last year, the Washington Post gave O’Rourke “four Pinocchios” for claiming he did not try to leave the scene, basing its decision on the police report.