Babbitt was recognized by Aviation Week & Space
Technology magazine with the Laurels Award for
outstanding achievement in the Commercial Air Transport
December 3, 2011, Babbitt was arrested in Fairfax City,
Virginia, and charged with driving under the influence
of alcohol. Babbitt was about 9 miles from his Reston,
Virginia home when he drove on the wrong side of the
road, Fairfax police said. Fairfax police issued a press
release December 5, in accordance with a department
policy of announcing arrests of public officials. Obama
administration officials did not learn about the arrest
until they saw the press release.
The day the press release was published, Babbitt
requested a leave of absence, which Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood granted. Michael Huerta, Babbitt's
deputy, immediately took Babbitt's responsibilities.
Babbitt resigned as FAA administrator the next day,
December 6. Babbitt's drunk driving charge was dismissed
May 10, 2012, after a Fairfax City judge found that the
arresting officer had no good reason, only a "mere
hunch," for pulling Babbitt over. A video of the arrest
played in court showed that Babbitt had not, in fact,
driven in the wrong direction. After the dismissal,
Babbitt said he planned to work in aviation consulting.