Babbitt Cleared Of DUI Charges
A judge has dismissed drunk-driving charges against former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, ruling the Fairfax, Va., police didn't have a good enough reason to pull him over. Although a police statement after his arrest said Babbitt had been observed driving on the wrong side of the road the night of Dec. 3, 2011, WJLA reported that dashboard video from the police cruiser showed what Judge Ian O'Flaherty described as a "normal" left turn, even though it does not appear Babbitt used his turn signal. Nevertheless, the judge called the traffic stop "a hunch" and ended the proceedings there without hearing evidence that Babbitt wasn't legally impaired when he was pulled over.
According to Babbitt's lawyer, Peter Greenspun, Babbitt's initial breath sample showed a reading of .07, just under the .08 limit in Virginia. On subsequent tests (when he was safely off the road in a parking lot) the reading nudged over the limit but Greenspun said the police don't have the right to keep testing DUI suspects until the limit is exceeded. Babbitt said he didn't fault the officer in the case. "He was certainly acting in good faith," he is quoted as telling reporters outside the courthouse. "I am thrilled the charges against me have been dismissed at trial and I have been found not guilty," he added. Babbitt also doesn't sound like he misses his old job, from which he resigned a couple of days after the charges were made public. He said he intends to return to work in aviation as a consultant.