FAA Administrator Babbitt on leave after drunken driving charge

Monday - 12/5/2011, 3:24pm EST

By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt has been granted a leave of absence following a drunken driving charge this weekend.

The Transportation Department said it had granted Babbitt's request for immediate leave and is now reviewing his employment, according to a statement released Monday afternoon.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. (Photo: FAA.gov)

Deputy FAA Administrator Michael Huerta will serve as acting administrator and DOT officials, who said they only learned of the arrest Monday afternoon, are now discussing Babbitt's employment status with legal counsel.

Babbitt, 65, was arrested 10:30 p.m. Saturday after a City of Fairfax police officer observed him driving on the wrong side of Old Lee Highway, according to a Fairfax City news release.

After appearing before a magistrate and being issued a warrant for driving while intoxicated, Babbitt was released on his own recognizance.

Babbitt, was alone in the vehicle, according to police and cooperated fully with the arresting officer.

Babbitt has served as FAA administrator since June 2009. He was an Eastern Airlines pilot for 25 years and a partner at an international management-consulting firm before being name to his government post.

FAA is expected to issue a release on the matter later today.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)