Longtime ABC Newsman Sam Donaldson was busted for drunk driving late last year.
His case finally went to trial and Donaldson was found not guilty on Friday.
When Donaldson was acquitted of a DUI charge, he stood and strode over to the Lewes police officer who’d arrested him last December during a traffic stop.
“You did your duty as you saw fit,” Donaldson, 79, who has interviewed U.S. presidents and world leaders as a reporter and anchor for ABC News since 1967, solemnly told Pfc. Katie Couchman. “I bear no animus toward you whatsoever.”
Donaldson was acquitted of driving under the influence and making an improper lane change in a Court of Common Pleas trial that lasted for more than five hours on Friday.
Judge Rosemary B. Beauregard ruled that police hadn’t established probable cause to arrest and charge him after a Dec. 1 traffic stop, when Couchman pulled over the gray Ford Expedition Donaldson was driving west along Savannah Road.
In her testimony, Couchman said she saw Donaldson’s car driving on the shoulder of the road, weaving from one side of the shoulder to the other. When he rolled down his window and spoke to her, she smelled alcohol, she testified, and she saw an opened but re-corked wine bottle near the passenger’s seat.
According to her testimony, Donaldson told her his girlfriend, who lives in the area, had broken her hip that day as they rode bikes, and that he was going to visit her at Beebe Medical Center.
He’d had dinner at The Buttery, a swank Second Street eatery, and was bringing his girlfriend the leftovers. While at the restaurant, he said he’d had “a few glasses of wine,” Couchman testified. In verbal and physical sobriety tests, Couchman said, Donaldson did poorly, miscounting a number series and failing to stand on one leg as instructed.
When Donaldson’s attorney, Eric Mooney, questioned Couchman, he noted that Delaware’s police academy training on giving sobriety tests like walking in a straight line or standing on one leg says they are not intended to be given to people older than 65, since they may have inherent balance problems.
H/T Delaware Online