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After Drunk Driving Charge, FAA Administrator Resigns

Former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt.
Alex Brandon
Former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt.

Jerome "Randy" Babbitt, the Federal Aviation Administration chief who was arrested on drunk driving charges, has tendered his resignation and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has accepted.

Babbitt issued a statement saying he was resigning because he was "unwilling to let anything cast a shadow on the outstanding work done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by my colleagues at the FAA."

He added:

"They run the finest and safest aviation system in the world and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work alongside them. I am confident in their ability to successfully carry out all of the critical safety initiatives underway and the improvements that the FAA has planned. I also want to thank Secretary LaHood for his leadership and dedication to the safety of the traveling public."

Babbitt, who was in charge among other things of the nation's air traffic controllers, was arrested on Dec. 3after police say he was driving alone on the wrong side of the road. Before, his resignation Babbitt had been placed on a leave of absence.

Update at 5:35 p.m. ET. LaHood's Comment:

Earlier today, reports The Washington Post, LaHood didn't say much to reporters about Babbitt.

""We're looking into the matter," he said. "I've talked to Randy about it and we'll see where it takes us. What I told Randy is that I was very disappointed with the way that I learned about this. Through a press release from Fairfax . . . I've said everything I'm going to say about Administrator Babbitt."

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.