If you suspected last year that Beto O’Rourke was not telling the truth when he claimed he did not try to flee the scene of his 1998 drunken car wreck, comments this week from Texas lawmen involved in the incident should leave you feeling reassured of your instincts.
“I believe we have contradicting stories here,” investigating officer Richard Carrera, 49, told the Texas Tribune.
Carrera, who arrested O’Rourke and administered a breathalyzer test, wrote in his 1998 report that an unnamed witness claimed the intoxicated suspect had tried to flee after causing a two-car wreck.
I have “no doubt that he tried to leave the scene,” Carrera told the Tribune.
O’Rourke, who is now running for president, was driving his Volvo at roughly 75 mph before he lost control and hit “a truck traveling the same direction,” hopping the center median and ending up on the opposite side of the highway, Carrera wrote in his report. After that, O’Rourke allegedly made a failed getaway attempt traveling in the wrong direction.
“The defendant/driver then attempted to leave the scene,” the responding officer wrote at the time. “The reporter then turned on his overhead lights to warn oncoming traffic and try to get the defendant to stop.”
The official incident and crime report included the same allegations. It reads: “The driver attempted to leave the accident but was stopped by the reporter.”
Though there are minor inconsistencies in the two separate police documents — one version claims O’Rourke’s Volvo was green, another claims it was black — it is important to note they are consistent in alleging the intoxicated suspect tried to flee.
Gary Hargrove, 71, who signed the 1998 incident report, certainly believes the police reports accurately reflect what happened that night.
The documents show O’Rourke “struck the [other] car from the rear and he ended up in the median pointed the wrong way, and he took that as his chance to get away,” he told the Tribune. “He did something to lead the officers to believe that he was trying to get away. What they put down, I believed them.”
If we are to believe contemporaneous accounts, and we are, then we should take these police reports seriously. They all seem to point in one direction, and it is the one claiming a drunk O’Rourke tried to drive away from a wreck he caused by drinking and driving. And like any good drunk driver, he tried to escape driving the wrong way.
But O’Rourke and his team are sticking to the story that only certain parts of the 1998 reports are true.
“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 former Texas congressman said during a debate last year against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
An O’Rourke spokesman also told the Tribune this week that "Beto's DWI is something he has long publicly and openly addressed over the last 20 years at town halls, on the debate stage, during interviews and in op-eds, calling it a serious mistake for which there is no excuse."
But then, what if he is openly lying about it? Doesn't that make it more of a story?
The spokesman added, “This has been widely and repeatedly reported on."
The funny thing about that: O’Rourke’s DWI, and the allegations he tried to flee, most certainly have not been “widely and repeatedly reported on,” despite the thousands and thousands of words wasted on syrupy sweet pro-O’Rourke profiles published by national newsrooms. It has been just the opposite, in fact.