(WJLA, AP) The administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration was arrested over the weekend by Fairfax City police and charged with driving while intoxicated.
Jerome Randolph 'Randy' Babbitt, 65, of Reston, was taken into custody on Saturday. Police said he was seen driving on the wrong side of the road at about 10:30 p.m. in the 3900 block of Old Lee Highway and pulled him over.
Babbitt was the sole person in the vehicle. He wasn’t involved in an accident.
Babbitt was arrested and taken to the local jail. He was placed on a personal recognizance bond.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Babbitt is now on leave from the agency.
A statement from the Department of Transportation:
DOT officials learned of FAA Administrator Babbitt's arrest on Saturday night within the last hour. Administrator Babbitt has requested, effective immediately, to take a leave of absence from the FAA. That request has been granted and Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta will serve as acting administrator. DOT officials are in discussions with legal counsel about Administrator Babbitt's employment status.
Babbitt was a former airline captain and internationally recognized expert in aviation and labor relations when President Barack Obama tapped him in 2009 to head the FAA. He was a pilot for the now-defunct Eastern Airlines for 25 years, and had served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association. As head of ALPA in the late 1990s, he championed the "one level of safety"
initiative implemented in 1995 to improve safety standards across
the airline industry.
At FAA, Babbitt has struggled to implement a wide range of safety initiatives, often over the opposition of industry officials who say the measures would cost too much money.