GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Craig Lowe was arrested early Thursday morning after crashing his car.
Arthur O'Neal heard the crash and ran outside. He said, "I seen a guy, he was stumbling."
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Lowe rolled through a stop sign and crashed his Honda Civic into a ditch. A state trooper showed up to investigate.
Sgt. Tracy Pace said of the arresting officer, "After weighing all the information that he had, and looking at all of the things that he observed, he decided that an arrest for driving under the influence was warranted at the time."
Investigators say Lowe told them he had had three beers earlier in the night, and that he had fallen asleep at the wheel. O'Neal says he got the same story, but he didn't buy it. He said, "No, you weren't asleep. You were drunk."
O'Neal says the man in the car was so drunk, in fact, he didn't realize until later that he had been talking to the mayor. "I mean the mayor? Really?" he exclaimed.
Lowe was charged with DUI and property damage, and has since bonded out of the Alachua County jail.
Mayor Lowe released the following statement, "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 thetrust 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.”
The city of Gainesville isn't saying much about the arrest. It issued this statement: "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."