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Bowers receiving outpatient treatment for alcohol issues

January 21, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Two weeks after a wreck forced former Washington County Commissioner Ron Bowers to face up to a problem with alcohol, he said he has begun outpatient treatment and is working with a Health Department counselor.

"I have addressed the issue that I have a problem with alcohol," Bowers said Monday from his Maugansville home.

Bowers was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol Jan. 6 after the sport utility vehicle he was driving crashed into a mailbox on Maugansville Road and plunged down a 10- to 15-foot embankment into a stream off Village Mill Drive, Washington County Sheriff's deputies said.

He also was charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Bowers said Monday he was still employed as administrator of the Maryland Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, a job he has held since April 2001. He was driving a state vehicle at the time of the 10:30 p.m. accident.

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"That vehicle is parked outside my house right now," Bowers said Monday, a state holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

Minor damage to a door from the Jan. 6 accident was fixed at Bowers' expense, he said. Bowers, 59, who lives nearby on Distant View Avenue, wasn't hurt in the accident.

No trial has been set in connection with the charges that night, Bowers said Monday.

"I went to my congregation at First Christian Church right after and explained things," Bowers said. He estimated there were about 500 people there when he spoke.

Since then, he has received dozens of cards and many telephone calls from people offering support, he said.

A resident of an apartment complex at 14011 Village Mill Drive called sheriff's deputies Jan. 6 to report a vehicle in the stream.

Bowers' red 1999 Chevrolet Blazer was submerged in the stream. A check of the tags showed the car was registered to the Maryland Comptroller's Office.

Deputies found Bowers walking along the road.

At 11:15 p.m., Bowers was given, and failed, a field sobriety test at the department headquarters. His blood alcohol level was found to be in excess of .08, which is the standard in Maryland for driving under the influence of alcohol - the more serious of the two alcohol-related driving offenses.

The exact figure wasn't revealed.

The maximum penalty for a conviction on that charge is one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine for a first-offense DUI.

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