DUI charges against Sam Donaldson have been dismissed, according to the AP. A Delaware judge has ruled that police lacked cause to arrest him and lacked evidence for the charges brought from that fateful night last December.
Police say the officer that stopped Donaldson in the town of Lewes for a traffic violation determined that the 79-year-old veteran news anchor had been drinking. She then gave Donaldson a field sobriety test, and Donaldson, a resident of McLean, Virginia, was charged with drunk driving.
The arresting officer, Katie Couchman, testified that she saw Donaldson’s car driving on the shoulder of the road, weaving from one side of the shoulder to the other. When she pulled him over, he rolled down his driver’s window and spoke to her and she said she immediately smelled alcohol. She also stated that she saw an opened but re-corked wine bottle near the passenger’s seat, according to delmarvanow.com.
She said Donaldson’s story was that his girlfriend had broken her hip that day when they were riding bikes, and that he was going to visit her at Beebe Medical Center. He said he’d had dinner and was bringing his girlfriend leftovers. He admitted that while at the restaurant, he’d had “a few glasses of wine.” She also testified that he failed verbal, as well as physical sobriety tests.
Sam Donaldson’s case was aquitted anyway and defense attorney Eric Mooney said he was “extremely satisfied” with the outcome of the case. When the verdict was announced, Donaldson strolled over to Coachman and, in an act of good will, said, “You did your duty as you saw fit. I bear no animus toward you whatsoever.”
Donaldson’s long and respectable career was marred by this unfortunate incident. His career at ABC News included a run chief White House correspondent and co-host of the show, “PrimeTime Live”. He was also the co-host of the immensely popular “This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.”
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