The DeKalb County solicitor’s office today dropped a 2010 DUI case against former TV reporter Dale Cardwell. Cardwell agreed to a reduced charge of texting while driving and will tape a public service announcement about the topic.
On June 3, 2010, Cardwell was pulled over just after midnight at the intersection of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Motor Drive, Doraville police spokesman Officer Gene Callaway told the AJC at the time.
“What caught the officer’s eye, is (Cardwell) sat through a green light,” Callaway said. Cardwell took the field sobriety test but was arrested when he refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test, police said.
He was held in the Doraville jail and released on $1,210 bond, Callaway said.
Cardwell, in a phone interview today, declined to comment but emailed a lengthy statement:
“I’m happy to report the resolution of my case. Today, I accepted responsibility for operating my vehicle in an unsafe manner due to texting while driving. On the rainy evening of June 3rd, 2010, I approached a very dim green light while driving northbound on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Because I am colorblind, I perceived the light as being yellow, not green and came to a stop. As I slowed my vehicle, I began reading a text on my phone from my wife. I started to return it, when I saw a car pass me to my right. That’s when I realized I was indeed stopped and texting at a green light.
“Today, the DeKalb Solicitor agreed to drop the charge against me if I agreed to accept responsibility for the act I’ve described. Furthermore, I have agreed to write and produce a :30 second public service announcement detailing my firsthand account of learning the dangers of texting while driving.
“I want to thank the Doraville Police Department, the DeKalb Solicitors’ office, Judge Alan Harvey and my attorneys Tex McIver and Steve Maples for reaching this very responsible conclusion.”
Cardwell’s attorney Tex McIver said he was ready with ten witnesses who could vouch that Cardwell had not consumed excessive amounts of beer earlier that evening. Cardwell, McIver said, refused to take the Breathalyzer test because he wanted to take a more accurate test at a hospital. The cops, McIver said, misunderstood and took Cardwell to jail thinking he didn’t want to take any test. Video of the arrest was not available either, which weakened the prosecution’s case, he added.
Cardwell, who worked as a reporter at Channel 2 Action News from1996 through 2007, currently operates a website www.trustdale.com in which he provides recommendations about Atlanta businesses. He also ran for U.S. Senate in 2008, coming in third in the Democratic primary behind Vernon Jones and eventual nominee Jim Martin.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog