A Iowa House Judiciary Committee member was arrested on Friday for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and carrying a firearm while intoxicated.
Iowa State Rep. Francis “Chip” Baltimore ,51, who happens to be a lawyer too admitted to the charges; his blood alcohol content was 0.147 at the time of his arrest which happens to be considerably over the legal limit. He is also responsible for pushing legislation that made penalties tougher for drunk drivers.
The Gazette reports Rep. Baltimore was arrested in the early morning hours on Friday in Ames, Iowa.
At 4 a.m. authorities received a report of a reckless driver traveling on Interstate Highway 35. The vehicle was described as operating at varying speeds and swerving in and out of its lane.
The police report said Baltimore was driving a dark-colored 2014 Ford Explorer when an officer observed him traveling at approximately 55 mph in a 70 mph zone that was entering a 65 mph zone. Baltimore was pulled over by police near U.S. Highway 30 westbound and Dayton Ave.
The officer said Baltimore had slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes, slowed movements and admitted to drinking about three drinks with the last drink being three hours earlier, and his breath smelled of alcohol.
The officer then ordered Baltimore out of his vehicle for a field sobriety walk and turn test, which he failed.
It was then that Baltimore was placed under arrest for a first offense of operating while intoxicated. And at that moment Baltimore admitted to the officer that he had a Smith & Wesson handgun under his driver’s seat.
Baltimore produced a concealed carry permit issued by the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, but it is illegal to be in possession of a gun while intoxicated. So, he was also charged with carrying a firearm while intoxicated.
Baltimore was also cited for improper use of lanes.
Once at the Story County Jail Baltimore consented to a chemical breath test on a state certified device which registered his blood alcohol content at 0.147. The legal limit for operating while intoxicated is .08.
Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, issued a statement regarding Baltimore’s arrest:
“Drunk driving is unacceptable behavior for anyone, let alone a state legislator. We will work through this issue and take appropriate action quickly, We will also work with Rep. Baltimore to get him the help and support that he needs at this time.”
Baltimore is serving his fourth term in the Iowa House.
“This is not my proudest moment. The fact of the matter is I was picked up and charged,” said Baltimore following his arraignment.
Baltimore supported a bill that required people convicted of driving while intoxicated to check in at a law enforcement office twice a day and take a breath test. If the offender had alcohol or drugs in their system then they would be arrested on the spot. The bill didn’t pass.