Racer Bobby Dale Earnhardt apologizes for actions after DUI charge
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Bobby Dale Earnhardt, grandson of the late racing legend Dale Earnhardt, was speeding and squealing his tires while allegedly driving under the influence on Charleston's West Side, police say.
Earnhardt, 25, apologized Tuesday afternoon via Facebook to his family, friends and fans for making "a terrible mistake."
"I wanted to let you all know I made a terrible mistake last night drinking and driving and I am thankful nothing bad happened from my stupidity and I know It (sic) could have," he wrote. "I'm sorry for letting all my fans friends and family down and Ihope (sic) I can make it up to each and everyone of you and in the future be a good role model. I will continue to move forward with my racing career and I hope I continue to have your support thanks"
His post had more than 1,100 "likes" and had been shared 81 times. A young member of a famous racing family, he originally is from North Carolina but recently moved to Charleston to start training to be a racecar driver with goals of reaching NASCAR and the Sprint Cup Series.
Charleston Cpl. R.C. Basford was on patrol late Monday night heading south on Garvin Avenue when he saw a white GMC Jimmy make a wide left turn from Washington Street at a high rate of speed, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court. Basford wrote in the complaint that the SUV's tires squealed in the turn.
Basford stopped the vehicle on Garvin near Orchard Street and identified Earnhardt by his North Carolina driver's license. The officer immediately noticed Earnhardt's thick, slurred speech and his glassy eyes as he spoke to him. Basford leaned closer to the driver's side window and noted the smell of alcohol coming from inside.
Earnhardt was unsteady as he got out of the vehicle. He told Basford he had two shots at Denver's Depot, a bar on the West Side.
Basford determined Earnhardt was highly impaired after his performance on field sobriety tests. A breath test showed his blood alcohol level was .193, according to the complaint.
He was charged with driving under the influence and arraigned Tuesday morning by Kanawha Magistrate Ward Harshbarger.
Earnhardt was released on bond Tuesday morning and was scheduled was scheduled to appear at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Beckley to sign autographs Tuesday morning but opted out of that engagement after his arrest, said Lynn Corrie, director of development for Habitat.
"He decided to postpone it," Corrie said Tuesday afternoon. "He was doing this to focus on the good work Habitat for Humanity is doing in the community and he realized that with that happening it would take the focus away from it."
Corrie said they would reschedule the autograph session at a later date. She called Earnhardt a "nice guy" and said she understood his reasoning for postponing. Earnhardt also was scheduled to visit residents at the Beckley Veterans Affairs Medical Center Tuesday and said on Twitter he was on his way to "keep my prior promise to the veterans at the va medical center".
"He's such a nice guy, but he is only 25 years old and I have a 25-year-old son, so I understand it," Corrie said. "It's unfortunate, but everybody makes mistakes. I just hope its something he can learn from."
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4850.