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After crash, Massachusetts bishop cited for drunk driving

"There, but for the grace of God, go I" is a saying that dates back hundreds of years. The time-worn phrase might well apply to the recent car accident and drunk driving charges against Bishop Robert J. McManus, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester.

The 61-year-old Massachusetts cleric was involved in a car crash this past weekend, but fortunately no one was hurt. As we all know, each year drunken driving leads to thousands of motor vehicle accidents per year, leaving behind fatalities and people with serious injuries.

In 2011, more than 120 people were killed in Massachusetts crashes involving impaired drivers. About 10,000 drivers were arrested that year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

McManus was in an accident in Rhode Island, near a house he owns with his siblings, according to reports.

He appeared in court wearing black clothing and the white clerical collar as he faced arraignment on two charges.

The bishop was silent in court and afterwards, but did release a statement yesterday in which he said he had committed a "terrible error in judgement."

He was reportedly in a collision Saturday, and then drove away from the crash scene.

He was arrested about 20 minutes later, refusing at that time to subject to a breath test to determine the concentration of alcohol in his system.

In his statement, he said he had consumed alcohol with dinner, but did not indicate how much alcohol or how much time had lapsed between drinking and getting behind the wheel.

According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, McManus had a clean driving record.

Let's hope the bishop and others learn from his "terrible error."

Source: Boston Globe, "Worcester bishop pleads not guilty in drunken driving case," May 7, 2013

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