Todd Helton pleads guilty to driving while ability impaired

The mug shot of Colorado Rockies all-star Todd Helton taken after his arrest for DUI in February spoke volumes about the most humiliating moment of his career -- an incident detailed in an arrest report on view below in its entirety.

Now, however, with the Rockies' season underway and going better than anticipated, Helton is taking responsibility for this error in judgment and attempting to put the embarrassment behind him by pleading guilty today to driving while ability impaired.

According to the narrative section of the report, as we've reported, Thornton police officers received a report of a possible drunk driver at a few minutes after 2 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6, from a person following behind. The vehicle in question, a Ford F150 pickup, had allegedly struck a median before pulling into a Conoco station at 128th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard.

A pair of cops headed to the Conoco and soon spotted the truck with its driver's side door open and the engine still running. No one was inside, but a moment later, Helton emerged from the interior portion of the station carrying a wallet, chewing tobacco and some lottery tickets.

Oh yeah: Helton was wearing camouflage. He probably looked something like this....

...except Peyton Manning wasn't with him.

Luckily for Peyton.

One of the cops asked Helton for his driver's license, and he headed to the passenger side to look for it -- apparently forgetting that he'd put his wallet on the driver's side front seat. Once an officer pointed out the billfold, Helton managed to find the license inside it. Amazing!

When Helton was told another driver had seen him hit a curb with his truck, he denied doing so -- but given that the witness was speaking to the officer's partner and had consented to provide a written statement, this assertion was in dispute. So was Helton's sobriety; he's said to have smelled strongly of alcohol and was slurring his words like a champ. Nonetheless, he eventually agreed to perform roadside maneuvers -- although he noted that he had bad hips.

There's no mention of how Helton did while going through the routine, but his grade must not have been outstanding given that he was arrested shortly thereafter. En route to the police station, he agreed to take a breath test after having the process described to him several times.

While being booked, Helton volunteered that he'd guzzled two Igloo cups of red wine at about 8 p.m. the night before.

If that's all he consumed and he was still blotto six hours later, those Igloo cups must have been the size of tanks at Sea World.

After the news broke, Helton posted an apology on his Facebook page. It read:

"Last evening I exercised poor judgment and was charged with drinking and driving after driving to a gas station near my house. I am very sorry and embarrassed by my actions. I hold myself to a high standard and take my responsibility as a public figure very seriously. My entire career I have worked to set a positive example for my family and in our community and I fell far short of this standard.

"I sincerely ask my family, the Colorado Rockies Organization, Major League Baseball and the community to accept my apology. I make no excuses and accept full responsibility for my actions. I humbly ask your forgiveness."

Since then, Helton has been on his absolute best behavior, and while he's been hurt for part of the season -- he was placed on the fifteen-day disabled list late last month, but returned this past weekend -- he's kept his focus on baseball.

Then, this morning, according to the Denver Post, he entered a guilty plea to DWAI in Adams County Court and said he was "extremely regretful" about his actions earlier this year.

The judge responded by sentencing him to a year's probation, plus 24 hours of community service and a modest fine -- $400.

He should be able to cover that. Here's a larger look at his booking photo, followed by the police report.

Todd Helton Arrest Report

More from our Mug Shots archive: "Twenty most memorable athletes' mug shots -- in honor of Todd Helton."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts