by Peter Hasson
Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke during Friday night’s debate denied trying to flee the scene of a 1998 drunken car crash, despite police reports to the contrary.
Police reports published by the Houston Chronicle on Aug. 30 show that the witness who called 9-1-1 told officers that O’Rourke “attempted to leave the scene” after losing control of his car and hitting a truck.
The witness “then turned on his over head lights to warn oncoming traffic and to try to get [O’Rourke] to stop,” the responding officer wrote.
O’Rourke, who is running against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, was asked about the Chronicle’s report during the debate at Southern Methodist University.
“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,” O’Rourke said, contradicting the witness account of the accident.
“I can only tell you that I was able to have a second chance in my life,” O’Rourke added. He was 26-years-old at the time of the crash.
O’Rourke “was unable to be understood due to slurred speech,” the officer wrote, adding that O’Rourke “almost fell to the floor” when exiting his card.
When the officer gave O’Rourke a balancing test, the future congressman “failed by totally losing his balance,” the officer wrote.
Police breathalyzers recorded O’Rourke with a blood-alcohol-content of 0.136 and 0.134 after the crash, and he was charged with driving while intoxicated.
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He “completed a court-approved diversion program and had the charges dismissed,” according to the Chronicle.
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