Disputing Beto O’Rourke’s Claim About Attempting to Leave Scene of DWI

During a debate with Ted Cruz, O'Rourke denied trying to leave the scene of the crash.

During a debate last week with his rival Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Beto O’Rourke was asked about a DWI crash that he was involved with in 1998: Did the then-26-year-old try to leave the scene of the crash?

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News had recently obtained police records of the collision and reported that O’Rourke had done just that. And The Washington Post fact-checkers used them for a deeper dive into O’Rourke’s answer.

“I did not try to leave the scene of the accident, though driving drunk, which I did, is a terrible mistake for which there is no excuse or justification or defense, and I will not try to provide one,” O’Rourke said during the debate.

But WaPo says that O’Rourke’s assertion he did not try to leave the scene of the crash is disputed by those police records. The crash happened around 3 a.m. on Sept. 27, 1998 in Anthony, Texas. A breathalyzer showed that O’Rourke had a blood alcohol content of 0.136 and 0.134.

The crash was observed by a witness, who told police officer Richard Carrera that O’Rourke tried to leave the scene but was stopped by a reporter. The incident and crime report contains similar information.

That does not, however, prove that O’Rourke was lying during his debate last week. WaPo writes that they put high value on records, and the police reports show O’Rourke tried to leave the scene. But, the newspaper adds that it is possible in his intoxicated state, O’Rourke was confused, and may have come to believe he didn’t try to leave because of that addled memory.

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