One of the youngest politicians in Washington, Derrick Skaug fills roles as a Pullman city councilman, vice president of the Associated Students of Washington State University, and as an active member of the WSU Young Democrats.
But early Sunday morning, Skaug announced, he was pulled over for making a wide turn and suspected of a DUI. He blew a 0.09, slightly over the legal limit. In a statement on his Friends of Derrick Skaug Facebook page he apologizes, thanks law enforcement, asks for privacy, and promises to “continue to earn the trust the public has placed in [him].”
The Daily Evergreen reports that Skaug’s vehicle was impounded and that the Office of Student Standards and Accountability might remove him from his student body vice president position.
WSU and the neighboring University of Idaho have been the subject of considerable scrutiny, after a string of falls and two student deaths had been associated with alcohol use. The Washington legislature is considering giving state colleges the ability to set up special DUI courts on campus.
“We kind of have a problem in this nation, in that the drinking age is 21, and that probably will never change, but it’s created a unique problem,” Skaug told the Spokesman-Review in November. “In terms of educating, the kids go off to college and no one has talked to them about it.”
In December, we asked Skaug about the recent troubles with alcohol, and he expressed concern about the shift toward hard liquor in his classmates.
“There has been an average increase in the blood-alcohol content for the people that are going to the hospital that are being treated,” Skaug said. “It’s very clear that this is because of hard alcohol. Physically, it’s really not possible to get to this blood-alcohol content off of beer and wine… The students' culture has just shifted away from beer to hard alcohol.”
At 0.09, Skaug’s blood-alcohol content was comparatively low, but still over the legal limit.
We reached out over Twitter for further comment from Skaug. For now, he does not plan to comment.
For now, here’s his full statement, posted on his Friends of Derrick Skaug Facebook page:
I was stopped for making a wide turn last night by a Whitman County Sheriff, was arrested for investigation of DUI, cooperated with the police, and gave a breath test that showed results of .09. This is a very serious situation -- one in which I have not been before -- and I want to express my remorse and apologies to my family, my school, and my community. I appreciate both the hard work law enforcement does, as well as the professionalism the legal authorities have shown me in this process.
Safety and justice are two paramount values for me. I will ensure that I continue to hold these ideals close as I work through the judicial process in this matter. I have a great deal of faith in the justice system and I would hope the community can respect my privacy. I have been advised by counsel to refrain from any further comment because this is an ongoing case, but I will do everything in my power to continue to earn the trust the public has placed in me.