U.S. swimmer Phelps sentenced to 18 months probation for drunken driving

Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:35pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, pleaded guilty on Friday to driving under the influence of alcohol and received 18 months of supervised probation and a one-year suspended jail sentence.

The 18-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested for drunken driving early on Sept. 30 after speeding and then crossing the double yellow lines inside a Baltimore tunnel, police said.

"The last three months of my life have been some of the hardest times I've ever gone through, some of the biggest learning experiences I've ever had," Phelps, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, told reporters.

"I'm happy to be moving forward. I'll continue to grow from this."

Phelps, 29, was clocked by radar at around 1:40 a.m. traveling 84 miles per hour (135 kph) in a 45-mph (72-kph) zone, police said, adding that he blew a .14 on a Breathalyzer, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in Maryland.

He faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

"I hope we don't have this conversation again and I'm optimistic that we won't have this conversation again," Judge Nathan Braverman told Phelps during his sentencing.

Among the observers in the courtroom were Phelps' mother, Debbie, his two sisters, and close friend Ray Lewis, the retired 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.   Continued...

Michael Phelps during the Men's 100Meter Butterfly final at the USA Swimming Nationals at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Phelps finished second. Aug 8, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA; Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports