NYC congressman charged with DWI

May 2, 2008 4:57:03 AM PDT
Brooklyn/Staten Island Congressman Vito Fossella was arrested in Alexandria, Virginia, early Thursday morning on charges of driving while intoxicated. Fossella was pulled over sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. He is set to appear in Alexandria General District Court on May 12.

He plans to address the media Friday afternoon.

The 43-year-old Fossela, a Republican, was first elected to Congress in 1997.

He represents the 13th district of New York, which encopasses Staten Island and the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge.

Fosella is up for re-election this year, challenged by Democrat Steve Harrison.

He released the following statement:

"Last night, I made an error in judgment. As a parent, I know that taking even one drink of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is wrong. I apologize to my family and the constituents of the 13th Congressional District for embarrassing them, as well as myself."

Fossella is charged with driving while intoxicated as a first offense, which under Virginia law requires a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or higher.

Police said they could provide no further details on the arrest, including Fossella's exact blood-alcohol level or where in the city he was arrested.

Fossella is the lone Republican member of the New York City congressional delegation.

He faced a surprisingly strong re-election challenge in 2006 and is bracing for a similar fight this year. His candidacy has drawn the support from national Republican leadership in recent weeks, including Vice President Dick Cheney.