23 Aug 2014
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Councilman Todd Huff's Voice Mail Audio: 'I Was Drinking'

Baltimore County police release voicemail Todd Huff left for county police Chief Jim Johnson on the night the councilman was arrested for drunken driving.

In the minutes after Baltimore County Council member  Todd Huff was pulled over for driving without headlights, the first-term Republican apparently called Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson multiple times and said in one of the calls he had been drinking before operating his county-owned Jeep.

"Apparently I was pulled over, I didn't have my headlights on and yes, I was drinking," Huff said in the voice mail left on Johnson's county cell phone that lasted less than 30 seconds.

The call was released by the the Baltimore County Police Department under a Maryland Public Information Act request filed Monday by Patch.

Huff was pulled over shortly before 3 a.m. on Feb. 23 after a police officer spotted the councilman's silver Jeep Grand Cherokee traveling on York Road near Washington Avenue. The county-owned vehicle did not have its headlights on and police reported seeing the driver run a red light.

Huff made three calls to the police chief, whom he refers to as "Jim," in a 17-minute period after the traffic stop. He only left one voice mail—during the first call made at 3:08 a.m., according to records released by the police department.

During the traffic stop, Huff appears to make appeals to the police officers not to file charges.

"Don't you know who I am?" he asks the police officer who stopped him, according to charging documents. "You stopped me on my own property."

Huff had pulled into the parking lot of Brooks-Huff Tire & Auto Center, a business owned by his family.

The councilman also asks officers repeatedly if they need to give him a field sobriety tests.

"You need to take me home and be done with this," police quote Huff in the charging documents.

The Lutherville Republican who was elected in 2010 later tells police that he is going to call Johnson. After being booked and issued citations, Huff was released into the custody of his wife, who was in the car at the time of the arrest.

Elise Armacost, a police spokeswoman, said Johnson did not answer the calls that night but saw that they registered on his phone a few hours later. She said Johnson called Huff around 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Huff did not answer the phone and he and Johnson have not been in communication since the incident, Armacost said.

The two have not communicated through text message or email, according to the county's response to the Public Information Act request filed by Patch.

The councilman received no special treatment, according to Armacost.

"He was treated with the same level of professionalism as anyone else stopped for this type of incident," Armacost said, adding that Johnson praised the officers for their handling of the traffic stop.

Huff made his first public appearance today at a County Council work session. He left immediately after the meeting and did not speak to the news media.

In a written statement Monday, the councilman acknowledged the incident.

"In the early hours of this past Saturday morning, I made a very poor decision," Huff said in the statement. "I am prepared to face the consequences of that decision, and I realize that I have caused my family and friends great pain. That is something I deeply regret.

"I also regret that I let down my colleagues and the citizens of the 3rd District, and I recognize that I will have to work hard to regain their trust as well. I will strive to do just that."

He added that he was voluntarily turning in his county-owned car.

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