Dashboard video shows Mayor Lowe's arrest


Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 4:07 a.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol on Friday released video footage showing Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe being questioned at the scene of his March 21 single-car crash, as well as his performance on field sobriety tests and, ultimately, his arrest on charges of DUI with property damage and careless driving.

The video was taken from the vehicle dashboard camera of FHP Trooper Javon Murphy as the initial crash investigation transitioned into a DUI investigation at the intersection of Northeast 21st Street and Northeast 156th Avenue in unincorporated Alachua County.

On the video from early on March 21, Murphy can be heard reading Lowe his Miranda rights and then telling the mayor he can smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath. Murphy then proceeds to question the mayor about the evening's events.

Lowe tells the trooper he drank “three or two” 12-ounce beers, with the last one coming at 10 or 10:30 the night before. When asked where he was coming from, Lowe can be heard saying “Monteocha — well, toward La Crosse.” The area where the crash occurred is often called Monteocha and is near the Monteocha Conservation Area.

The crash happened around 2:20 a.m., authorities have said, and the time stamp shown on the video is after 4 a.m.

The trooper also can be heard asking Lowe why he had failed to call the police after the crash and instead first called a tow truck, to which Lowe responded, “because I was fine, and I didn't know how long it would take the tow truck to get here.”

Authorities have said that a resident near the crash notified police and that the Alachua County Sheriff's Office was the first responding agency.

The video proceeds to show Lowe's performance on his field sobriety exercises, in which he stumbles while walking a straight line. Murphy reported that the mayor performed poorly on the tests.

The video concludes with Lowe being arrested and then transported to the Alachua County jail. Once at the jail, Lowe submitted to a breath test and registered a blood-alcohol level of .061 and .069, according to the FHP report. Florida law says any blood-alcohol level above .08 is considered legally drunk.

Lowe was released from the jail on his own recognizance later in the afternoon of March 21 and on Thursday entered a written plea of not guilty to the charges he is facing.

He is scheduled to appear in court at a pretrial conference on April 24, However, it is unclear if he will make this court appearance, which is not mandatory.

Two days before the crash, Lowe advanced to an April 16 runoff for mayor against former two-term City Commissioner Ed Braddy. While serving on the City Commission in January 2006, Braddy also was arrested for DUI. He pleaded no contest to the charges.

Messages left on the cellphones of the mayor and his campaign manager, Nick Mildebrath, had not been returned as of late Friday.

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