Yahoo News has obtained footage which shows the aftermath of a car accident which involved Omar Ashmawy, the head of the Congressional Ethics Office.
Ashmawy has been charged with driving under influence and 3 other offenses after his car crashed into the porch of a home in Pennsylvania.
Ashmawy faces charges of DUI, reckless driving, driving on roadways laned for traffic, and violating restrictions on alcohol in a vehicle.
Mike Barnes and Paul Vinovich, who are co-chairmen of the office of congressional ethics, have released a statement following Ashmawy’s charges.
“We take this matter very seriously and the board will be reviewing the circumstances surrounding it.”
“In the meantime, Mr. Ashmawy has been placed on leave to deal with the issues that contributed to this incident.”
“Helen Eisner will serve as the acting staff director during his absence.”
Ashmawy has held his position, which is a non-partisan role, for the last 12 years. Ashmawy has said that both the charges and the crash itself have acted as a massive “wake-up call” for him.
“I’ve had some medical issues including a diagnosis of syncope that I am dealing with in this case, but this incident was a wake-up call to me that I have a problem with alcohol dependency. I’ve since sought out treatment for my use of alcohol, and I’m currently in a program where I am addressing this dependency. I’m grateful for the continued support of my family, friends and colleagues,” Ashmawy said.
Hector Fernandez, who owned both the house and one of the cars that were hit, said that he was at home when the crash occurred.
“I heard a loud boom, almost like a firework. Real loud, boom, and then I heard a loud boom that shook my house,” Fernandez said during an interview with Yahoo News.
Fernandez said that when Ashmawy emerged from the vehicle, he seemed “highly intoxicated.”
“He almost looked stunned. Probably from hitting my house. He was definitely disoriented,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez told police that Ashmawy offered to cover the costs for all damages if he didn’t contact authorities, according to the probable-cause affidavit.
“Don’t do that. Don’t don’t call the police. Come on. Don’t do that,” Ashmawy said, Fernandez told Yahoo News.
Fernandez did contact authorities and caught some of their interaction with Ashmawy on his cell phone.
“Where you coming from?” an officer can be heard asking Ashmawy. “Turkey Hill,” Ashmawy said, referring to a nearby grocery store.
According to a police report, the officer observed that Ashmawy “swayed, had glossy eyes, an unsteady gait and the odor of alcoholic beverages coming from his breath.”
“This officer also noticed inside Ashmawy’s vehicle, two bottles of Fireball whiskey, one empty, one full, a six-pack beer box, and a can of unopened beer,” the arresting police officer wrote.
Ashmawy reportedly refused medical attention at the time of his arrest but checked himself into a hospital the next day.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: YAHOO NEWS
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