Even though Walker Stapleton has been elected State Treasurer, the Denver Post shouldn't forget to make sure he turns over, at some point, the police report from his 1999 DUI arrest in San Francisco.
In an interview Oct. 27 on KHOW's Caplis and Silverman show, Stapleton said he ordered the report and promised to deliver it to the Post's Tim Hoover as soon as he gets it. Under California law, the public does not have access to this document.
Last week, I criticized the Post for not interviewing one of two woman whose cab Stapleton hit when he drove his car through a red light and into their taxi. An interview with this victim was published in the Colorado Independent.
In the KHOW interview, Silverman seems to have made a mistake (uncorrected by Stapleton) when he said on the air that "as recounted by you, the accident wasn't even your fault."
In fact, Stapleton told Silverman:
"What happened is, I had been drinking, and I had been under the influence of alcohol at the time, and I was hit by a taxi cab. And it was at an intersection where I had a blinking red and the taxi had a blinking yellow light. It caused my car to spin, to do a 360, and there were two people in the back of the taxi at the time."
To me, it appears that the accident was Stapleton's fault, even if the taxi hit him.
One of the women in the taxi also said Stapleton's car ran a red light.
This victim also said something that Stapleton has denied, namely that he tried to flee the scene, but his car was cut off by other cars, possibly taxis.
The police report may clear this up, to some extent, as could documents requested by the Independent, which has raised questions about possible drug use by Stapleton.
Strong Colorado, a liberal group, published a piece on Colorado Pols explaining why the old DUI still matters.
When Stapleton turns over the report to the Post, a full story--including an interview with the victim--should be run to clear up the air or pollute it, depending on what the record shows.
Partial transcript of interview with Walker Stapleton on the Caplis and Silverman Show
10/27/2010 HOUR 4
Silverman: This involves a DUI conviction. Isn't that something that the voters should know and determine whether it's important to them or not.
Stapleton: Sure. Absolutely. And that's why I admitted to this transgression 12 years ago. I was 25 at the time. It was a mistake that I've owned up to, that I've been honest about. In fact, the first time I was asked about it I was honest about it in a very public forum, and I've taken full responsibility for it. I served my community service as a result of this. It's not something I feel great about. It's not something that needs to be put into a political attack ad where the facts are twisted and distorted to make it look like things happened that simply didn't happen. That is disingenuous to voters and it's also insulting to voters--as if voters would vote on issues like this and not issues that pertain, policy issues, which pertain to the job of being state treasurer of Colorado.
Silverman: Sure, good people can get DUIs. There was an accident involved, and some people were shaken up. There was an issue about whether those people were in a taxi or on foot, and whether you left the scene of the crime or not. Why don't you explain what really happened?
Stapleton: Well, you know quite well from your experience as an accident attorney that a lot of things take place in an accident. What happened is, I had been drinking, and I had been under the influence of alcohol at the time, and I was hit by a taxi cab. And it was at an intersection where I had a blinking red and the taxi had a blinking yellow light. It caused my car to spin, to do a 360, and there were two people in the back of the taxi at the time. I didn't even know that there were two people in the back of the taxi, wasn't even told about it until my insurance company contacted me and said that both of these two individuals had applied for and received back massages. Liberal interest groups tried to drum up this story by saying that I had hit a number of pedestrians. That did not happen, and it was confirmed that it did not happen by the San Francisco Police Department. But they still did not drop the story even though the Denver Post spent the time and got a categorical denial from the Office of Public Safety of the San Francisco Police Department that pedestrians were not involved in this accident. When I explained that I had pulled out of traffic to the San Francisco Police Department, they dropped the hit-and-run charge. You know, from being a lawyer, that just because you are charged with something and you go through the legal process, now 12 years old, doesn't mean you're guilty of it....
Silverman: I agree. A lot of good people can have a DUI. And as you recounted, the accident wasn't even your fault. And I could see how that could happen. But there are DUIs and then there are DUIs. Some people have a .082 blood alcohol content, which gets them in trouble in Colorado right now under with DUI. Heck if you're over .04 you can be charged with driving while ability impaired. And you sometimes seepeople with huge blood alcohol content and, what was yours? Did you take--
Stapleton: The answer is, I don't remember. It was well under .2, I can tell you that. And, just as evidence that I have absolutely nothing to hide, and Tim Hoover of the Denver Post can confirm this, as soon as the Kennedy campaign, in an effort to smear me, brought this issue up again, I immediately attempted to order the police report from the San Francisco Office of Public Information, at which I will deliver a full report to Tim Hoover at the Denver Post as soon as I receive it. Unfortunately, there are bureaucratic circles involved with receiving such a report. But I have told Tim at the Post that I have absolutely nothing to hide with this accident. I have owned up to my mistakes....
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