Reporting Mike Hellgren
PASADENA, Md. (WJZ) — A Maryland politician says he’s reached a deal with prosecutors over a drunken boating accident. He says he’s sorry—but is that enough?
Mike Hellgren breaks down the agreement and the fallout.
Delegate Don Dwyer’s boating accident on the Magothy River last August injured several children. Now the politician says he’ll plead guilty to operating his boat under the influence of alcohol and says the prosecutor has agreed not to ask for jail time while dropping four other charges.
“I’m not worried about being politically correct. I’m worried about having the integrity that I need to have in representing the state of Maryland,” Dwyer said.
Toxicology tests showed Dwyer had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit but his lawyer claims police mistakenly told Dwyer he had to be tested, which he says is not true if there are no life threatening injuries. He believes the test would have been thrown out in court.
“It was my opinion to almost a 100% certainty that had he gone to trial, he would have been found not guilty,” said Dwyer’s attorney, David Fischer.
“He picked the wrong person to play his usual game on,” said Randy Harbin.
Harbin, who was driving the other boat, said shortly after the accident that Dwyer veered into his path and was obviously drunk.
WJZ was the first to tell Harbin about Dwyer’s deal. He says he has a lot of strong opinions about it but doesn’t want to speak right now because he doesn’t want to jeopardize his case.
Delegate Dwyer claims he’s in an alcohol treatment program, that he started drinking heavily after his marriage fell apart and because of his battle against same-sex marriage.
The judge could still decide to sentence him to jail time.
“I made a serious mistake. I really did. But who in this room hasn’t ever made a serious mistake? Who out there in the public hasn’t made a serious mistake?” Dwyer said. “And who hasn’t been drinking while operating a boat in the Chesapeake Bay?”
A special prosecutor from Howard County is handling the case and confirms a plea deal has been reached, but would not comment on the terms.