Protestant leader regrets driving drunk

Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:27am EST
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BERLIN (Reuters) - The leader of Germany's 25 million Protestants was stopped for running a red light while driving under the influence of alcohol, the Hanover state prosecutors office said on Tuesday.

Margot Kaessmann, 51, had a blood-alcohol level that was more than three times the legal limit, Hanover state prosecutor Juergen Lendeckel told Reuters. He said Kaessmann was under investigation and could lose her driver's license for a year.

"I'm shocked that I could make such a terrible mistake," Kaessmann, the Lutheran bishop of Hanover, was quoted telling Bild newspaper. "I'm aware of how dangerous and irresponsible drinking and driving is, and am ready for the legal consequences."

A mother of four, Kaessmann has worked to revive the church in Germany, which has been losing members. She was considered a controversial candidate to lead the church because she is divorced.

She is also an outspoken critic of Germany's military role in Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Christopher Lawton, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Margot Kaessmann, leader of the Evangelical Church in Germany, gives an interview on her stance on Germany's engagement in the Afghanistan conflict in Berlin January 14, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>