Reporting Derek Valcourt
PASADENA, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Busted again. Anne Arundel County Police arrest an outspoken conservative lawmaker who just weeks ago pleaded guilty to operating a boat under the influence — this time for driving a car while intoxicated.
Derek Valcourt has details on that arrest.
Earlier this year Del. Don Dwyer admitted to WJZ that he’s an alcoholic. Tuesday morning, that self-admitted addiction appears to have landed him in legal trouble yet again.
Anne Arundel County Police arrested him just after midnight in Pasadena. He was pulled over after an officer spotted his gray Cadillac eastbound along Route 100 near Edwin Raynor Boulevard.
“The officer was immediately concerned for the safety of everyone on the road,” said Justin Mulcahy, Anne Arundel County Police spokesman. “It was driving erratically to say the least. It crossed over several lanes of traffic multiple times, onto the shoulder several times as well, even getting in front of vehicles.”
According to the official police report, during the traffic stop, the officers could smell a strong odor of alcohol, Dwyer’s speech was slow and slurred, and his eyes were glassy and red.
Police say Dwyer was traveling 70 mph in a 55 mph zone Tuesday morning. His car registration was expired and suspended for emissions, according to the police report.
Police say he failed three field sobriety tests and refused a breath test.
“Once you admit you’re an alcoholic, it’s not something that goes away. It’s something you deal with the rest of your life,” Dwyer told WJZ in an interview earlier this year.
In that personal interview with WJZ, Dwyer asked for voters’ forgiveness after admitting he was operating his boat under the influence of alcohol when it collided with another boat on the Magothy River last year, injuring seven people, including himself. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
“No one, no one should be drinking while operating a motor vehicle or a power boat,” Dwyer said in an interview shortly after the boating collision.
Dwyer has pleaded guilty already for driving intoxicated in that incident.
He and his attorney told reporters he’d voluntarily begun an alcohol treatment program.
“I’m pleased to announce he’s been sober since the day this happened,” Dwyer’s attorney David Fischer said in May.
News of his DUI arrest has renewed some calls for his resignation.
“Out of concern for others who could be harmed and for Don Dwyer himself, I call on him to resign and get help,” fellow Anne Arundel County Republican Del. Ron George, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said in a statement.
But the charges against Dwyer do not trigger expulsion rules for a Maryland lawmaker because they are misdemeanors that do not directly involve his work as a lawmaker.
House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said Dwyer’s conduct has put him in direct conflict with state laws.
“Del. Dwyer’s future in the Legislature will be decided by his own conscience as he considers whether he can effectively represent his constituents or, ultimately, by the voters of District 31,” the speaker said in a statement.
Dwyer’s House Republicans colleagues released a statement saying, “We are deeply troubled by the latest reports charging Delegate Don Dwyer with a DUI. We are grateful that the police were able to intervene before anyone was harmed. We urge Delegate Dwyer to seek treatment immediately.”
Dwyer did not return WJZ’s repeated phone calls. His attorney had no comment Tuesday.
Dwyer has been released from jail and now faces several charges in connection with this latest DUI arrest. He is scheduled to be sentenced for that boating under the influence charge in late October.
These new charges came two days after Dwyer was allegedly assaulted in the backyard of his home by a neighbor who was holding a knife, according to a police report. Another neighbor told police he saw the man strike Dwyer near the pier behind Dwyer’s waterfront home.
The witness also told police the man ordered his bulldog to bite Dwyer and then the man threw the lawmaker into the water.
Police said they believe the altercation happened after Dwyer refused to smoke a cigarette laced with PCP that the man offered him.
Brian Andrew Lucabaugh was charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and drug possession.
Police say Dwyer’s arrest comes as part of a statewide crackdown on drunk driving in effect through Labor Day. It’s called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”