US Airways chief executive Doug Parker was arrested on a drunken driving charge just hours after his airline’s $9.8 billion bid for Delta Air Lines was rejected last week, Scottsdale police said Friday.
Parker, 45, was pulled over at 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 31, after leaving a party at the FBR Open golf tournament in Scottsdale, police Sgt. Mark Clark said. Parker was pulled over for driving 20 mph over the posted speed limit of 45 mph.
Results released Friday show Parker had a blood-alcohol level of 0.096, according to Clark. The legal limit in Arizona is 0.08.
According to a police report, Parker told police he had three beers during a two-hour period.
The arresting officer, Ben Roberson, wrote in the police report that Parker had bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech and alcohol on his breath. Parker refused to take a breathalyzer test, the report shows.
The officer performed roadside sobriety tests and arrested Parker. He then took Parker to a DUI task force post for booking and to have blood drawn for an alcohol-level test. Before the test was given, the report shows Parker asked to speak with a lawyer who also had been a passenger in his black BMW when he was pulled over.
The lawyer told Parker over the phone to take the test, the report shows.
Parker, a husband and father of three children who lives in the posh town of Paradise Valley, was cited for DUI and driving at an imprudent speed and released the night of his arrest. Police called a taxi for him and had his car towed.
Parker is scheduled to appear in Scottsdale Municipal Court on Feb. 21.
The CEO wrote two letters to employees regarding the incident.
“You need to know how embarrassed and sorry I am about this,” Parker wrote in the first letter on Thursday. “I have let down all of you and also my family, and that is something I will have to live with irrespective of the outcome.”
In the second letter, written Friday after he found out the outcome of his blood-alcohol test, Parker again apologized to employees.
“I will accept the consequences of my actions and I will ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” he wrote. “Again, I apologize to you and appreciate the hundreds of notes of encouragement that I have received from you already. We have a great airline with great employees and I’m committed to not letting you down in the future.”
In the letters, he also said he was in too much of a hurry the night of his arrest, but that he was honest with Roberson about how much he drank. He said he did not believe his blood-alcohol level would be over the legal limit and that he was OK to drive.
Parker was not available for further comment Friday.
Vice president of communications Elise Eberwein said late Thursday that Parker “is embarrassed beyond words and knows more is expected of him.
US Airways said it would have no further comment on the incident Friday.
US Airways Group Inc. made a hostile bid for bankrupt Air Lines Inc. on Nov. 15. US Airways later raised its bid by nearly 20 percent in hopes of swaying Delta’s official committee of unsecured creditors.
But the creditors rejected the offer on Jan. 31, and Parker pulled the bid within minutes of being informed of the move.
Parker said Thursday he wouldn’t have done anything differently in regards to the Delta bid.
“The creditors just chose not to go with our proposal,” he said. “We think our proposal was better, but it was their prerogative, and we left on our own terms.”