While most of us in the news media were out scouring Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbooks, some of us noticed Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke told a big lie during his first debate with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
“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,” the Democratic senatorial candidate said Friday.
O’Rourke is, of course, referring to his 1998 drunken driving accident in which he is said to have “struck a truck traveling the same direction,” hopped his car over the grassy center median before coming to a stop, and then tried to flee the scene of the crime.
And yes, he did try to flee.
A witness told police officer Richard Carrera that then-26-year-old O’Rourke was driving a Volvo at roughly 75 mph before losing control and hitting another driver going in the same direction.
“The defendant/driver then attempted to leave the scene,” Carrera wrote in his report. “The reporter then turned on his overhead lights to warn oncoming traffic and try to get the defendant to stop.”
A separate document, the incident and crime report, includes the same claim. It reads: “The driver attempted to leave the accident but was stopped by the reporter.”
It’s important to note that there are inconsistencies in the police documents. One version claims O’Rourke’s Volvo was green, while another claims it was black. But the allegation that he tried to flee the scene of the crash is consistent throughout.
If contemporaneous accounts are to be taken seriously — and they ought to be — then these reports point to one simple conclusion: O’Rourke lied Friday evening. He tried to flee the scene of the crime, and he’s lying about it now.
The Washington Post’s fact-checker came to the same conclusion this week, awarding the Democratic candidate four Pinocchios while writing, “O’Rourke was so drunk that he could barely get out of the car without falling, so perhaps he would not have gotten far — or he was simply confused.”
It added, “Perhaps in his memory, O’Rourke believes he did not try to leave. But, given his blood alcohol content at the time of the crash, O’Rourke’s memory 20 years after the fact is not nearly as credible as the police reports written just hours after the crash. O’Rourke could have dodged the question during the debate or he could have said his memory of the night is not clear. Instead, he chose to dispute the factual record.”
Any minute now, the journalists who wrote those glossy 2,000 to 3,000-word O’Rourke profiles will get to the bottom of all of this.