Ex-Madrid transportation chief resigns after drunk-driving crash

Regional deputy José Ignacio Echeverría tested positive in breathalyzer after A-6 accident

José Ignacio Echeverría (left) at the Madrid regional assembly in 2013.
José Ignacio Echeverría (left) at the Madrid regional assembly in 2013.Gorka Lejarcegi

A Madrid regional assembly member and former official has stepped down after causing a road accident while driving under the influence on Wednesday night.

Shortly after 10pm, Popular Party (PP) politician José Ignacio Echeverría’s car hit the one immediately ahead of it near Villalba, on the A-6 freeway leading northwest from the capital, the Civil Guard confirmed.

Echeverría did not show external signs of inebriation, said the Civil Guard

The 69-year-old former speaker of the Madrid regional assembly was given a breathalyzer test and was found to have 0.64 milliliters of alcohol per liter of exhaled air, when the legal limit is 0.25. A rate of 0.66 is equivalent to an intake of three or more glasses of wine.

The deputy, who once served as chief of the regional transportation department, did not show external signs of inebriation, said Civil Guard sources. His vehicle was not seriously damaged.

Following his resignation on Thursday, Echeverría will be replaced by the technical secretary general of the regional parliamentary group, Pedro Muñoz Abrines.

The PP spokesman in the Madrid assembly, Enrique Ossorio, had earlier called the incident “serious” and said that if the facts were confirmed, there should be some consequences for Echeverría.

Prosecutors and the Civil Guard must now determine whether Echeverría gets charged with a road safety crime, which entails losing his driver’s license for up to four years, or whether he simply loses six points on his license and gets slapped with a fine that could reach €1,000.

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In May 2013, another PP politician was arrested in Madrid after hitting several parked cars in a narrow street. He was found to be four times over the legal alcohol limit.

English version by Susana Urra.

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