March 25, 2010 in Region

Wash. schools chief apologizes after DUI arrest

Donna Gordon Blankinship Associated Press

SEATTLE — Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn issued a written apology Thursday for actions that led to his arrest in Orting over the weekend.

The apology came four days after he was arrested near Orting High School in rural Pierce County at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. On Wednesday, he was charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence. He was scheduled to appear in court April 2.

In a statement issued by his office in Olympia, Dorn, 56, apologized for embarrassing and hurting his family and disappointing his supporters and staff.

“I work hard every day for the school children of this state and it pains me deeply that I have not set a good example for them,” he added. “I will work hard to earn back your trust and I pledge that I will never make this mistake again.”

The Washington State Patrol said a breath test found Dorn’s blood-alcohol content was 0.11 percent. The legal limit for driving in Washington is 0.08.

Along with the citation for driving under the influence, Dorn was issued a $124 ticket for allegedly driving his Toyota Prius at least 10 mph over the posted speed limit of 35 mph.

In his statement, Dorn also offered more information about the events leading up to his arrest but said he could not discuss the legal aspects of his case.

His wife, sons and he attended the annual crab feed and dance at the Swiss Sportsman Club Park in Bonney Lake on Saturday night.

“I drank beer during the event, but I thought I was capable of driving home. I now know that drinking any amount of alcohol before driving is an extremely poor choice,” Dorn wrote.

The head of the state’s K-12 education department said he continues to do the job the people of Washington elected him to do, including working on Washington’s application for federal “Race to the Top” dollars. He will be on vacation next week with his wife, a school librarian who is on spring break.

Dorn was elected in 2008 to a four-year term leading Washington’s K-12 education system.

Before taking his current job, he was executive of the Public School Employees of Washington union. Earlier in his career, he served seven years in the state House and worked as a teacher and principal in Eatonville and other districts.

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