‘I did not over consume’: Md. House GOP leader Jason Buckel charged with DUI

April 2023 file photo of Maryland Del. Jason Buckel, left, an Allegany County Republican who is the Maryland House minority leader. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)(AP/Brian Witte)

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Del. Jason Buckel was speeding when he was stopped by police on June 13. Buckel was not speeding. The speeding incident referenced in the earlier version stemmed from a 2023 traffic stop. This story has been updated.

Del. Jason Buckel, the Republican leader in Maryland’s House of Delegates, is speaking out after being charged with driving under the influence in Allegany County last week.

The state lawmaker, who represents part of Western Maryland, including Allegany County, was stopped by police about 11:20 p.m. Thursday night.

Court records show Buckel, 52, of La Vale, is charged with:

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving while impaired by alcohol
  • Negligent driving, and
  • Failure to display vehicle registration to a law enforcement officer

“I did not over consume any alcoholic beverages on the night in question, particularly as I had not been feeling well earlier in the afternoon and had taken some over the counter medication,” Buckel said in a statement provided to WTOP by his office.

“I was not speeding. I was not driving erratically in any way,” the statement went on to say. “Approximately a mile from my home an officer turned his lights on from behind me. I will trust the legal system as to the resolution of the matter or the rationale for the stop, but I have confidence that the matter would hopefully be resolved favorably.”

Buckel said he had been at a “local sports-themed restaurant” to watch an NHL game before his vehicle was stopped, adding that he is “not much of a drinker” and will “rarely drink more than the occasional glass of wine or beer with dinner or at a sporting event.”

A trial date in Allegany District Court is scheduled for July 24.

Buckel said he intends to perform his duties and “would expect that the majority of my colleagues and constituents would expect me to keep doing the challenging work on behalf of Western Maryland and Republican principles in Annapolis.”

“Maryland has an extremely aggressive approach to DUI from both a policy and enforcement perspective, and I’ll participate in the process and abide by the outcome,” Buckel said, adding, “No one is above the law, and I am certainly not.”

But, in his statement, Buckel suggested he wasn’t ruling out “improper motive or coordination with the local State Police bureaucracy” as a factor in the incident.

Buckel said he had been “the subject of improper and unfounded allegations previously by a State Police officer who engaged in an extramarital affair with my now ex-wife and with whom I clearly have a negative relationship, although we’ve had no communications for a lengthy period.”

Despite the provocative nature of what Buckel said, he added: “I have a great deal of respect for the law enforcement community so I would never impugn it. I’ll allow those issues, if any, to be addressed through the proper channels.”

WTOP has reached out to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County for additional information.

Buckel was previously cited for speeding — going 79 mph in a 70 mph zone — in June 2023, exactly a year before the most recent traffic stop.

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Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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