The editor of the editorial page at The Oregonian
told police he'd had just two drinks at Ruth's Chris Steak House downtown before he was arrested last week for drunk driving, according to the police report obtained by WW
, who has been at The O
since 1983 and is arguably the most important opinion shaper in the state, told police he'd had two glasses of wine two hours before his arrest early on the morning of May 20. He said he'd dined earlier that evening on steak and potatoes.
He was arrested for driving under the influence at 12:24 a.m., after backing his pickup truck into another vehicle while trying to park near a strip club. The call to police came from a bouncer at the club who witnessed the incident.
Caldwell, 61, failed three field sobriety tests, according to a 38-page police report released today in a public-records request (PDF
). He was booked into jail at the Multnomah County Detention Center after blowing 0.10 percent on a blood-alcohol test. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.
The police report says Caldwell is 5-foot-8 and 245 pounds.
Some say it would be difficult, if not impossible, for someone of that weight and height to blow 0.10 percent on a blood-alcohol test after drinking just two glasses of wine.
"That would have to be an awful big glass of wine," says Marsha Masters, president of a local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving
on Puget Sound. "Even if he drank straight alcohol, I don't think he'd get high that quickly. So I doubt if that would be true."
Caldwell wrote WW
in an email Monday evening that he has no comment. has not responded to several phone and email messages since last week seeking comment. The Oregonian
has yet to publish a story about Caldwell's arrest.
Here are other details from the police report:
John Joseph, a bouncer at Club Rouge
on the corner of Southwest 4th Avenue and Stark Street, saw Caldwell back his 2002 Toyota Tundra into a parked car on Stark Street shortly before midnight, according to the police report.
The bouncer told police Caldwell was driving about 5-8 mph when the collision occurred — "a pretty decent speed for backing up and not looking," the report quotes Joseph as saying.
Caldwell said he was trying to park his car, the report says. But the report does not indicate if Caldwell said where he was going. Caldwell told police he'd been at nearby Ruth's Chris with his brother. But Ruth's Chris closes at 10 p.m., about two hours before the crash. (Joseph told WW
Caldwell had not been in the club before the crash.)
After hitting the parked car, Caldwell appeared to be driving away from the scene of the crash, according to Joseph's account in the police report. When Joseph told Caldwell to stop, Caldwell denied having hit a car, the report says.
Joseph told police Caldwell then "stumbled" to the back of his Toyota to check for damage, the report says. Joseph told police Caldwell had to balance himself against the bed of his truck, according to the report.
Caldwell told Officer Todd Harris he'd drunk two glasses of wine two hours before the crash, the report says.
"He appeared to stutter a few times during our conversation, and he seemed nervous during the entire conversation," Harris wrote.
Caldwell at first hesitated to take the field-sobriety tests, the report says. But after Harris laid out to Caldwell that Caldwell was slurring his speech, had bloodshot eyes, smelled of booze and had just hit a car, Caldwell changed his mind.
"Caldwell lowered his head and took a long sigh," Harris wrote in the report. "Caldwell then said, 'I'll take the tests.' "
At the Justice Center jail, Caldwell called his wife and tried unsuccessfully to reach his lawyer, the report says. Then he took the breathalyzer and was booked into jail.
"Caldwell was polite and cooperative throughout the entire process," Harris wrote.