A Fairfax, Va. city judge yesterday threw out the drunk driving charge against former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, after the judge had viewed a video of the traffic stop. Babbitt resigned his post at the FAA last December 6, three days after the incident.
Fairfax City General District Court Judge Ian O’Flaherty ruled that the officer had pulled Babbitt over on a “mere hunch.” The video showed Babbitt making a routine left-hand turn into a business complex along the roadway. Additionally, defense lawyer Peter Greenspun said that the first breath test showed that Babbitt had a blood-alcohol level of 0.07, below Virginia’s legal limit of 0.08.
According to The Washington Post, a prosecutor said that later tests showed Babbitt exceeding the legal alcohol limit, but Judge O’Flaherty dismissed the case before the evidence was presented.
In his opening statement, Greenspun told the court that Babbitt had attended a dinner party in Fairfax City the night of December 3, and had two and a half or three glasses of wine between 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Fairfax City Officer Mike Morris alleged in the criminal complaint that Babbitt had crossed double yellow lines and had driven on the wrong on side of the road.
Update, 5 p.m., May 11, 2012: Statement from NBAA
“For decades, Randy has been one of the most recognized and respected people in aviation. His contributions to the safety and efficiency of air transportation in the United States and around the world are significant,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “We are pleased that the matter that led to his resignation from the FAA is now closed. We wish him all the best in whatever his future plans may be and trust that the aviation community will benefit from his considerable talent, expertise and commitment.”