Babbitt DUI Charges Dropped

Judge rules police lacked probable cause to stop former FAA head.

Randy Babbitt

Randy Babbitt

** Randy Babbitt speaking to a crowd at Oshkosh
in 2011.**

A Fairfax, Virginia, judge has dismissed drunk driving charges filed late last year against former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt after ruling that patrol car video appeared to contradict the arresting officer's original report.

Babbitt was arrested on December 3 in Fairfax after police said his car was spotted crossing the double yellow lines and driving on the wrong side of the road. Two days later, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood placed Babbitt on administrative leave. Babbitt resigned soon afterward.

At the DUI trial against Babbitt, the judge dismissed the case after watching video that showed Babbitt making a normal left turn into a parking lot. He chastised the arresting officer for pulling Babbitt over on a “mere hunch.”

Babbitt’s first breathalizer test showed a reading of 0.07 percent blood alcohol content, under the 0.08 percent level considered under the influence. Subsequent tests showed a higher reading. Babbitt’s lawyer told the court that the former FAA Administrator had attended a party in Fairfax that night, where he drank two and a half or three glasses of wine over a three-and-a-half hour span.

In a statement, Babbitt said he was pleased with the outcome of the trial and looks forward to getting back to work in aviation, this time as a consultant.

“I am thrilled the charges against me have been dismissed at trial and I have been found not guilty,” he said. “As I said in December, I resigned from the FAA because I was unwilling to let anything cast a shadow on the outstanding work being done every day by the men and women who work there. I am extremely grateful for the colleagues and friends who have expressed their support for me over the past few months. Over my career I have worked on some of the most important issues facing the aviation industry, and now that this matter has been resolved, I look forward to returning to that work.”