Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe arrested on suspicion of DUI

By , and on March 21st, 2013

Florida Highway Patrol

Update 3: 45 p.m. Friday.: Craig Lowe said in a statement this afternoon he accepts responsibility for driving after drinking alcohol and will continue as Gainesville mayor and mayoral runoff candidate.

“I recognize that this is more than just a legal issue but a personal one,” Lowe said in an email sent by his re-election campaign manager Nick Mildebrath.

Lowe said he’ll accept the state attorney and court’s sanctions, undergo an alcohol abuse evaluation and take any recommendations to prevent this behavior.

“I regret that my actions Thursday morning have disappointed so many friends, supporters, and citizens of Gainesville,” he said. “I hope that in the future I will again prove worthy of the public’s trust and confidence.”

Update 7:28 p.m.: Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe said in a statement today he thinks he won’t be found guilty after a Florida Highway Patrol officer arrested him this morning on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The statement was emailed today by his re-election campaign manager, Nick Mildebrath.

The statement reads:

“I apologize for the harm that this situation has caused to my friends, supporters, and the citizens of Gainesville. I feel that it’s important to set the record straight. In the coming days, additional facts will come to light and I believe that I will [be] found not guilty in this case.

“I’m also thankful that no one was hurt, and I’m deeply sorry to anyone who feels I have violated the trust placed in me as an elected official. Moving forward, I will work hard to regain your confidence and trust. I look forward to getting back to work for the people of Gainesville.”

Update 1:20 p.m.: Arthur O’Neal, who is the closest resident to the scene of the crash, said a loud boom woke him up at about 1:30 a.m.

After his mother called 911, he went outside to see what happened. O’Neal said the driver of the car, whom he didn’t recognize as Mayor Lowe, said he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

O’Neal, who owns the Monteocha Store, located at 2077 NE 156th Ave.,  thought Lowe seemed intoxicated.

“I know drunk when I see drunk,” he said.

O’Neal said this arrest won’t look good for Lowe.

“If you preach responsibility, you have to act on it also,” he said. “I really think it’s going to hurt him.”

Update 11 a.m.: WUFT has uploaded the FHP arrest report.

Emily Burris reported for WUFT-TV.

Update 10:24 a.m.: Statement from the City of Gainesville Communications Office:

“The City of Gainesville is aware of media reports regarding the Florida Highway Patrol investigation of the single vehicle accident involving Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe. The immediate concern is the mayor’s well-being. We are continuing to monitor events and will have no further comment on the circumstances related to the incident or the incident itself until the Florida Highway Patrol completes its investigation and official report.”

A street sign is knocked over at the intersection of NE 156th Avenue and NE 21st Street Thursday morning. The arrest report cites this as the area where Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe was found by FHP officers.

Jesse Pagan / WUFT News

A street sign is knocked over at the intersection of NE 156th Avenue and NE 21st Street Thursday morning. The arrest report cites this as the area where Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe was found by FHP officers.

Update 9:19 a.m.: The Alligator is reporting Lowe was asked to take a breath test when he arrived at the Alachua County Jail — at that time the readings were between .069 and .061. The trooper on scene, the Alligator reports, believed Lowe’s blood alcohol level to be above .08 at the time of the crash.

Original: The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe was arrested this morning on suspicion of DUI. Patrol spokeswoman Tracy Pace said Lowe was involved in an accident at the intersection of Northeast 156th Avenue and Northeast 21st Street, and was taken to the Alachua County Jail.

Lowe on Tuesday came in second in the Gainesville mayoral race, and is scheduled to be in a runoff with challenger Ed Braddy on April 16th.

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  • Johnny Lane

    So now we have two candidates in a run-off for mayor and both of them have been arrested for DUI

  • Wilbur

    I guess the progs won’t able to make Braddy’s DUI such an issue! At least Braddy didn’t wreck!

  • Hooked on Lowe

    DUI while running for mayor… brilliant! This man is my idol.

  • Toss Up

    Wilbur, Braddy sideswiped another vehcile as part of his DUI incident — http://www.gainesville.com/article/20060127/LOCAL/201270339

  • GNVMeyers

    Strange. His blood-alcohol level was LESS than 0.08 yet the trooper still arrested him.


      Because they didn’t do the breathalyzer until several hours after the accident. 2:20 AM was the wreck, 4:58 AM was the breathalyzer.

    • VaricoseVain

      There’s no law that says you can’t be arrested for levels below 0.08.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evelyn.dorman Evelyn Dorman

    I’ll try to stifle my comment but this won’t affect my vote either way. Sometimes things aren’t fair, sometimes people don’t get what they deserve, sometimes they do. Sometimes peoples’ BAL is zero and they still get arrested.

  • Rick

    I’m a little confused – why’s he in jail? Isn’t 0.8 the legal limit?

    • http://www.facebook.com/adam.vorhis Adam Vorhis

      Once you get arrested (before the blow), they can’t unarrest you, even if you blow .000. But you are correct that .08 is the legal limit. Also, the if the State can show his “normal facilities” were impaired, they can convict him of DUI.

      • http://www.facebook.com/JessicaClackumHerman Jessica Clackum Herman

        It’s pretty reasonable to assume that if he was .061 to .069 at 5 am it was much higher at 1:30 a.m.

      • Zo Lynn Szurgot

        What do you mean, they can’t unarrest you? They most certainly can release any inmate on their own recognizance at any hour, even before first appearance or arraignment. Yes, that won’t undo the arrest, investigation, and the consideration by some prosecutor as to whether the arrest warrants any charges 9and which charges), but it will get the prisoner out of jail, which was what Rick asked. And which was what should have happened, to Mayor Lowe and to thousands of others on many different charges.

  • Trevor Bicking

    I believe that he will only be charged with reckless driving because he was under the legal limit at the time he took the breathalyzer test. Before anyone jumps to conclusion if the average adult drinks 2 to 3 beers you would be considered drunk by the standards of this test.

  • Sal Fariello

    I do motor vehicle accident reconstruction all over the U.S. and Canada, including a lot of work in DUI cases. I have also appeared before the Alachua County Commission to advise them as to local road safety issues. It is incorrect to assume that you need to reach a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 to be prosecuted for DUI. The typical “burn-off” rate is about 0.015 per hour. Therefore, by retrograde extrapolation in jurisdictions where this is allowed, the police can estimate the blood alcohol concentration at each hour before the blood or breath test was actually taken. Furthermore, you do not need to be at 0.08 to be deemed “impaired.” You can be prosecuted at a much lower BAC if the police can establish evidence of impairment, which is not really difficult to do. The 0.08 BAC is merely presumptive impairment by statute. You can wind up in jail with a much lower BAC! These days, drivers must be concerned not just about their BAC, but just as importantly about something called the national DRE, or “drug recognition expert” program. Police are being trained as drug recognition experts and to identify any impairment associated with drug use. The test matrix includes any CNS (central nervous system) depressants or stimulants. The test matrix can include impairment due to almost any prescription or non-prescription medication that affects the central nervous system. I consult with lawyers all over America and I have received confirmation that since caffeine is a CNS stimulant, it can fall within the test matrix and you theoretically can be prosecuted if a car crash can be attributed to an impairment of faculties due to excessive intake of caffeine. The bottom line is this: be very careful about what substances you ingest and how they might affect your driving judgment and ability behind the wheel, because if you get into a crash and a police officer finds evidence of impairment, your life can be ruined quite quickly. The police can establish impairment through a field sobriety test or a drug impairment test matrix, and they do not need a breath test or a blood test to help make a case against you. Police assigned to traffic duty are mostly trying to keep the highways safe, notwithstanding all the chatter by some people about how they are merely looking for excuses to write tickets or arrest people. Even if that were true, then the best course is, to the extent possible, avoid giving them a reason to ticket or arrest you.

  • Man

    I wish my mayor was this cool


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