Former President of University of Mary Washington, Who Faces DUI Charges, Says He Drank 6 Bottles of Cough Syrup Before Driving


April 2007 was a busy month for then-president of University of Mary Washington (UMV), William Frawley.

On April 10 he was charged with driving while intoxicated in Fairfax County, Virginia after he flipped a vehicle owned by the UMV Foundation.

The next day he was arrested in Virginia and charged with driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test.

The police report states that the officer noticed a car traveling down the road without a passenger's side front tire. The officer turned on his lights and siren but the vehicle refused to stop. Instead, Frawley allegedly drove about six blocks and stopped when he reached his house. The officer notes that he smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from Frawley and that he was unsteady on his feet. Frawley had difficulty answering questions but did reportedly tell the officer that he had consumed six bottles of cough syrup that day. The officer noticed an injury to Frawley's face, possibly from the accident the day before. Since he was having trouble standing up, the officer did not conduct a field sobriety test and asked Frawley if he would submit to a preliminary breath test. Frawley reportedly refused the breath test.

By the end of April, Frawley was fired from University of Mary Washington, "for cause".

His DUI trial was scheduled to begin in Fredericksburg General District Court this week but has been postponed until September 18th, 2007. Prosecutors in the case requested the trial be pushed back because they have not yet received Frawley's blood test results that they have subpoenaed from Mary Washington Hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Kathleen Allenbaugh says that Mary Washington Hospital is cooperating with the investigation.

Frawley's defense attorney has requested that his client's medical records be sealed, which he believes to be a statutory requirement. Frawley says he was in the hospital for five days while being treated for a serious heart problem.

If Frawley did in fact drink six bottles of cough syrup and not alcohol, which impaired him before driving on April 11, he could still be found guilty of driving while intoxicated under Virginia law. Code of Virginia § 18.2-266(iii) states that it is illegal for any person to drive "while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely".

So, if for some reason Frawley was blaming his apparent impairment on cough syrup as a means of hopefully avoiding a DUI charge, the law is not on his side.

Frawley is scheduled to appear in Fairfax General District Court on September 21, 2007 to answer the charge of driving while intoxicated in connection with the wreck he had while driving the UMV Foundation's vehicle.

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