Olympic swimming champ Phelps arrested on drunken driving charge

Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:45pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, was arrested for drunken driving early on Tuesday after speeding and then crossing the double-lane lines inside a Baltimore tunnel, police said.

The 18-time Olympic gold medalist later apologized for the incident, saying he was "deeply sorry to everyone I have let down."

Police said Phelps, 29, was clocked by radar around 1:40 a.m. traveling 84 miles per hour (135 kph) in a 45-mph (72-kph) zone. He was booked and released.

Phelps, who has won 22 Olympic medals and appears to be eyeing a spot on the U.S. team for the 2016 Olympics, was "unable to perform satisfactorily a series of standard field sobriety tests," authorities said, adding he failed a Breathalyzer test.

Police said an officer followed Phelps's 2014 Land Rover onto northbound Interstate 95, through the Fort McHenry Tunnel under Baltimore Harbor, and pulled him over just beyond the tunnel's toll plaza. Authorities said the Baltimore-area native was cooperative.

"Earlier this morning, I was arrested and charged with DUI (driving under the influence), excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines," Phelps said in a statement.

"I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility," he added. "I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down."

The drunken-driving arrest was the second for Phelps, who has spent most his life working feverishly in the pool but admits he likes to have a good time outside of practice and competition.   Continued...

Aug 10, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA; Michael Phelps reacts after placing second in the 200m individual medley in 1:56.55 in the 2014 USA National Championships at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports - RTR41X0R