After drunken boating, lawmaker faces DWI charge

BRIAN WITTE, Associated Press
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In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 photo released by the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Maryland  Del. Don Dwyer poses for a mug shot. (AP Photo/Anne Arundel County Police Department)

In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 photo released by the Anne Arundel County Police Department, Maryland Del. Don Dwyer poses for a mug shot. (AP Photo/Anne Arundel County Police Department)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland lawmaker awaiting sentencing on a drunken boating conviction was charged Tuesday with drunken driving after a police officer observed him committing multiple traffic violations, authorities said.

Del. Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel, was charged with driving while impaired and other traffic offenses, including speeding, swerving and reckless driving. Anne Arundel County police said. Dwyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment and no one answered the door at his home. His attorney, David Fischer, declined to comment.

Dwyer’s driving was so erratic and presented such a danger that an officer pulled him over even though the officer was transporting a prisoner, according to the police report.

Dwyer is scheduled to be sentenced on a drunken boating charge on Oct. 25. Seven people, including Dwyer, were injured when the lawmaker’s boat collided with another vessel on the Magothy River last year. His blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.

He refused a breath test after he was pulled over in Pasadena on Tuesday.

The officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol and that Dwyer’s eyes were red and glossy, police said. His speech was slow and slurred. While taking a sobriety test, Dwyer was reportedly “very unstable on his feet and having trouble keeping his balance,” according to the police report.

Dwyer was released on his own recognizance.

Fellow Anne Arundel County Republican Del. Ron George called on Dwyer to resign.

“Out of concern for others who could be harmed and for Don Dwyer himself, I call on him to resign and get help,” George, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said in a statement.

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.

In the drunken boating case, Dwyer has reached a plea deal with prosecutors that would not include jail time.

He had reached a similar plea deal, but a judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail, saying a lawmaker should be held to a higher standard. Dwyer appealed that sentence.

The 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.

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Associated Press Writer Ben Nuckols contributed to this report.

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