Delaware state lawmaker arrested for second DUI offense

A state lawmaker from the Dover has been arrested for DUI for a second time.  He is also accused of leaving the scene of an accident in Wilmington where he is accused of sideswiping a city police car.

City police say an officer had parked his car in the 2900 block of North Market Street Sunday night to respond to a call.  As he was getting out of the vehicle, it was struck by a black SUV.  The driver of the SUV continued to head southbound on Market Street until police were able to stop him on West 27th Street. 

The driver was identified as 46-year-old Edward B. Bennett of Dover.  The Democratic State Representative, who goes by “Brad” Bennett, was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, having no proof of insurance and failing to report an accident involving alcohol. 

Bennett was also charged with DUI after being pulled over in Sussex County in October 2010.  Four months later he pleaded guilty in Sussex County Court of Common Pleas and released a statement saying “I made a mistake that will not happen again.”  Bennett received a sentence of one year of probation.

Ethics investigation

The State House Ethics Committee will investigate Bennett’s arrest “following the completion of the judicial process,” according to a statement issued by House Majority Leader Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf.  “Driving under the influence is a serious crime that puts everyone on the road in danger.  There is no excuse for such behavior.”  Schwartzkopf adds “We have been informed that Rep. Bennett intends to seek treatment.  On a personal level, I wish him the best in addressing these issues.”

If the Ethics Committee recommends disciplinary action, a resolution would then be presented to the House.  That discipline could range from censure, suspension or even expulsion.  The Committee is made up of leaders from both caucuses, including Reps. Schwartzkopf, Robert Gilligan, Valerie Longhurst, Greg Lavelle, and Gerald Hocker.

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