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Charles H. Williams,
Attorney and Counselor
at Law, P.S.
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Seattle, WA 98108

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Former US ambassador accused of drunk driving, hit-and-run accident

When a public figure is arrested for drunk driving, it makes the news. Even when the individual no longer holds a public position, his or her reputation let alone freedom is on the line.

A former United States ambassador was arrested this week after he was accused of driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of an accident in Washington.

The accident occurred on Aug. 14. The accident report showed that a 2009 Ford Mustang convertible was sitting at a stoplight in the left lane of a two-lane road. When the light turned green, the driver of the vehicle turned right instead of going straight or left. The only problem was that there was already a semi truck in the right lane. The two vehicles collided, but no one was injured in the collision.

According to police, a witness had followed the Mustang after it drove away from the scene. When the police arrived, they found the 63-year-old former ambassador behind the wheel. Police said that he was very cooperative during the stop, but that he blew 0.152 when the arresting officer conducted a Breathalyzer test.

It seems easy to judge the individual for driving away from the scene, but take a moment to imagine yourself in a similar position. While driving, imagine that you strike a commercial vehicle with yours, one that is not easily damaged. You are a figure who is constantly in the public eye, you panic and flee knowing that no one was likely injured and there probably wasn't even any damage to the other vehicle.

When an incident such as this occurs, we cannot predict how we will act. After an arrest, however, everyone should know that they affirmatively have the right to seek counsel to defend against the charges.

Source: The Seattle Times, "Former ambassador Ryan Crocker arrested in DUI," Nicholas K. Geranios and Gene Johnson, Aug. 23, 2012

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