Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe arrested on suspicion of DUI

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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.

[jwplayer config=”News-video” file=”wuftnews/20130321LoweArrest.mp4″ html5_file=”http://fms01.jou.ufl.edu/wuftnews/20130321LoweArrest.mp4″ image=”http://www.wuft.org/videoupdates/files/2012/10/WUFT-Generic-Logo_final-854×480.png”] 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.
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.

About Forrest Smith

Forrest is a radio news manager for WUFT News. Reach him by emailing news@wuft.org or calling 352-392-6397.

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