Back on the air, NBC4’s Leon Harris apologizes after DUI incident

NBC Washington anchor Leon Harris said Friday he was deeply regretful and apologetic for a January crash in which he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Harris reappeared Friday afternoon after a month off to reflect on his Jan. 29 arrest over a crash in Montgomery County. Speaking directly to viewers, Harris called his decision to drive after drinking “the stupidest decision I could possibly have made,” thanking the network and its audience for their support.

“I let a lot of people down, and that is why I decided to go on my own to take some time to reflect, and do some intensive work on myself with some very, very tough professionals to get control of this disease of alcoholism,” Harris said.

“I’ve learned that this problem is treatable, and that it is possible to embrace recovery and sobriety, and with the help of my family, friends and professional advisers, have sought some help now to do just that.”

A version of Harris’ televised message was also published on NBC4’s website.

Montgomery County police said Harris rear-ended another vehicle on Bradley Boulevard, near River Road. He was charged with six misdemeanors: driving under the influence, attempting to elude police, driving while impaired by alcohol and attempting to drive while impaired, in addition to two charges of failing to stay on the scene of an accident.

“I truly understand what a privilege it is to sit here in this chair, and I commit to you that I’m going to do whatever it takes to honor that, and to re-earn your trust,” he added.

“I want to thank the leadership here at News4 for allowing me to address this issue. Their support has given me the strength to address this illness and to become a better person for them, for my family, and most importantly, for you.”

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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