(Updated) Twenty-nine year old Michael Phelps, born and raised in Baltimore County, Maryland, and the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 22 medals, was arrested in the early morning hours of Sept. 30 in Baltimore City and charged with DUI, according to CNN. Phelps was busted around 1:40 a.m. after a Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) police officer manning a radar check clocked the Olympian cruising 84 mph in a 45-mph zone. Phelps was arrested and then charged with DUI, “excessive speed and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 in Baltimore.” He was released later on Tuesday.
The MTA officer first clocked Phelps’s Land Rover when the swimming champion was speeding on I-395 southbound. “The officer followed the vehicle onto northbound I-95, through the tunnel and stopped the Land Rover just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza.” The arresting officer said that Phelps “appeared to be under the influence.”
“He was unable to perform satisfactorily a series of standard field sobriety tests,” a Maryland Transportation Authority statement said. “Mr. Phelps was cooperative throughout the process.”
USA Today reported that this isn’t Phelps’ first time in trouble with the law. Back in 2004 when he was only 19 years old, Phelps was sentenced to 18 months’ probation after being arrested for drunken driving. In 2009, about three months after earning eight gold medals in Beijing, he was photographed at a University of South Carolina house party – smoking what the world assumed was marijuana – out of a bong. There weren’t any legal repercussions from that embarrassing photo; but he was suspended from any competition by USA Swimming for a period of three months after that photo surfaced. Regarding that 2009 bong photo, Phelps did apologize and said that he demonstrated bad judgment and “engaged in behavior which was regrettable.”
“I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.” ~ ESPN, Feb. 2009
Update: Phelps has already responded to this latest arrest. CBS News in Baltimore reported that this afternoon, the swimmer released a statement via Twitter, saying:
“Earlier this morning, I was arrested and charged with DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines. I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not have much meaning right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”
Phelps reportedly blew a blood alcohol content this morning over twice the legal limit. TMZ reported on Oct. 1 that prior to Phelps getting behind the wheel Tuesday morning, he had just finished up an 8-hour marathon gambling session at Baltimore City’s newest casino, The Horseshoe Casino.
Phelps arrived at the Horseshoe around 5 p.m. on Monday and played poker in a private VIP suite until leaving the establishment around 1 a.m. Sources told TMZ that Phelps’ drink of choice was beer, and that he’s been a regular at the Horseshoe since it first opened in late August. For more on today’s DUI arrest, see the video accompanying this article.