Rep. Vito Fossella (R–Bay Ridge) was arrested early Thursday morning in Alexandria, Virginia for driving while intoxicated.
Alexandria police told The Brooklyn Paper that the congressman was detained in the Washington, DC suburb early Thursday and will have to appear in Alexandria General District Court on May 12 for a hearing.
According to the news station NY1, police held Fossella for six hours.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon Fossella said:
“Last night I made an error in judgment. As a parent, I know that taking even one drink of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is wrong. I apologize to my family and the constituents of the 13th Congressional District for embarrassing them, as well as myself.”
Police in Virginia, where the legal blood-alcohol limit is .08 percent, were tight-lipped about the arrest, and would not reveal if the 43-year-old congressman failed any field sobriety tests.
Bay Ridge community activist Bob Cassara said he felt bad for Fossella, whom he had invited to a town hall meeting in Bay Ridge to be held on Thursday, May 1.
“Had he accepted our offer and stayed in town, he probably wouldn’t have found himself in this predicament,” he said. “People drink, but should he be drinking and driving? No.”
On Staten Island, where Fossella lives, the congressman received a mixture of boos and cheers on a local Web site, www.silive.com.
“Staten island's self-appointed patron saint may not be so saintly after all. Can't wait to see how his team spins this,” posted a person with the screen name Meliann.
“At least he's not client No. 10 or something,” posted JT9972, in an obvious reference to former Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s recent troubles with the law. “Give him a break.”
Fossella, like 125 members of Congress, leases a car paid for by taxpayers. It was not known if he was behind the wheel of his ’08 Jeep Grand Cherokee when he was arrested.
The congressman is up for re-election this year, and was endorsed by Vice President Dick Cheney at an Upper East Side fundraiser last Monday.
Fossella, the only Republican representing New York City in the House, became a congressman in 1997, after serving in the City Council.
— with Ben Muessig
©2008 Community News Group
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