The Republican legislator who chairs the Iowa House Judiciary Committee was arrested early Friday in Ames and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of a firearm while under the influence, the Des Moines Register reports.
State Rep. Francis “Chip” Baltimore reportedly recorded a 0.147 blood alcohol content after being pulled over on Interstate 35 shortly before 4 AM. The limit for driving is .08 BAC.
A Smith & Wesson handgun recovered was recovered under the driver’s seat.
“Drunk driving is unacceptable behavior for anyone, let alone a state legislator,” Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a fellow Republican, said in a statement. “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.”
“We will have no further comment at this time,” a spokesman for House Republicans told The Register.
Rep. Baltimore has previously pushed legislation to crack down on drunk drivers.
KCCI reporter Tommie Clark was in the courtroom, where Rep. Baltimore had an initial appearance while wearing a white t-shirt while his hands where shackled to his sides. Clark interviewed Rep. Baltimore after he was released from the Story County Jail.
“Why were you intoxicated around six in the morning,” Clark asked.
“I was picked up earlier than that, so…” Baltimore replied, then trailed off.
“Do you think you should still be the chair of the Judiciary Committee,” Clark asked.
“That’s not my determination to make,” Baltimore said.
“Obviously it’s not my proudest moment,” Rep. Baltimore admitted.