Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s), who is facing DUI and DWI charges after being stopped by the Charles County Sheriff’s Department Sunday morning, called his arrest “unfortunate” Monday evening and said he looks forward to proving his innocence.
But Walker has decided to temporarily step away from his leadership position as vice chairman of the House Economic Matters Subcommittee on Alcoholic Beverages.
“I’ve been a huge supporter of law enforcement over the years — that won’t change — and public safety has always been my number one issue,” Walker said in a brief interview outside the House chamber. “That being said, however, it’s unfortunate the incident that happened and I look forward to proving my innocence.”
According to The Washington Post, Walker was stopped shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday on Route 301 near the Tinder Box Cigar Lounge. A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman told the newspaper that a patrol car had to take “evasive action” to avoid being hit by Walker’s car as it pulled out of the parking lot.
Walker has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2007 and currently serves on the Economic Matters Committee. He has temporarily ceded his position as vice-chair of the alcohol subcommittee.
When asked to comment on his decision to step down as vice-chair, Walker said: “No need for distractions.”
House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) said in a statement Monday that the Maryland legislature has tried to make clear that driving under the influence of alcohol is not acceptable behavior.
“While initial reports are concerning, Delegate Walker is a valued member of the House and is an important voice for Prince George’s County,” Jones said.
Walker, 48, is a former professional football player and occasionally provides commentary on ESPN. He is married to Prince George’s County Councilmember Monique Anderson-Walker (D).
In his legal case, Walker is being represented by fellow Del. C.T. Wilson (D-Charles), who said he believes it was an “erroneous stop,” and that Walker will be acquitted.
“At the end of the day, I’m a defense attorney. I defend people been wrongfully accused every day,” Wilson told WTOP, a Maryland Matters news partner. “Why would I stop now?”
“Jay Walker is a friend of mine, and when you have a friend in need, that’s when you come to him,” Wilson continued. “You don’t walk away, you don’t hide and you don’t use political expediency as an excuse.”
Walker’s trial has been scheduled for April 16, 10 days after the General Assembly session is set to adjourn.