News Column

Randy Travis Sues Texas Agencies Over Drunken Arrest Video

May 17, 2013

Country music star Randy Travis has sued the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas attorney general's office after some evidence from his drunken driving arrest last summer was ordered released to the public.

Travis pleaded guilty in January to driving while intoxicated in the August incident in which authorities say they found him naked after crashing his Pontiac Trans Am near Tioga, a town where he lives about 60 miles north of Dallas.

He received two years probation, a $2,000 fine and a 180-day suspended jail sentence, and the judge presiding over the case ordered Travis to spend at least 30 days at an alcohol treatment facility, complete 100 hours of community service and have an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he operates while on probation.

The judge also agreed with a defense motion asking that the arrest video and transcript not be released to the public.

According to a lawsuit filed with the Travis County district clerk Tuesday, the judge issued a ruling ordering "the destruction" of the video.

However, the attorney general issued a ruling May 3 saying that some of the information should be released to a requestor under a public information act request, the suit says.

The DPS received a written request for information about the arrest and sought a ruling from the attorney general, the suit says. The requestor is not named in the suit or the attorney general's ruling.

According to the attorney general's ruling, the presiding Grayson County court judge issued a protective order prohibiting the release of dash-camera video recordings. But, the ruling says, the judge didn't have discretion to prohibit the release. The DPS must withhold medical records and motor vehicle records, among other information, the ruling says.

According to the suit filed Tuesday, the singer is seeking $100,000 and a declaratory judgment that all of the information requested about his arrest not be released.

The August crash was among a string of recent run-ins with the law for Travis.

Police in suburban Dallas cited Travis following an Aug. 23 incident in a church parking lot in which he allegedly intervened in an argument involving a woman he knows and her estranged husband. No one was hurt.

Larry Friedman, one of his attorneys, said Travis pleaded no contest in that case in January. In an agreement with prosecutors, he got 90 days' deferred adjudication, meaning it will be removed from his record if he does not get involved in another assault in that time period.

Travis also was arrested in February 2012 in Denton County, northwest of Dallas, and charged with public intoxication after police spotted a vehicle parked in front of a church and found an open bottle of wine and Travis smelling of alcohol. That case is no longer on file with the county court and appears to have been dismissed.

Additional material from The Associated Press.

Here's the police dashcam video:


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