Longtime D.C.-area news anchor Leon Harris will serve a brief stint in jail following his conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol earlier this year.
TV station WRC-4, the Washington NBC affiliate, reported that Mr. Harris, who works for the station, will have to spend 10 days in jail for his January DUI offense in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Mr. Harris was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation with an ignition interlock device installed on his car.
His formal sentence was a year imprisonment with all but 10 days suspended. If he violates probation, he will have to serve the other 355 days behind bars.
This week’s guilty plea was his second DUI offense. He will turn himself in to his jailers on Friday.
On the night of the crash, Mr. Harris rear-ended one car, which then hit another car.
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When responding officers arrived, NBC Washington said that Mr. Harris tried to flee the scene, but was stopped by police. WRC reported that a breathalyzer test conducted by police found that Mr. Harris‘ BAC level was twice the legal limit of .08%.
Mr. Harris was placed under arrest. No one was seriously hurt in the crash.
“I admitted in court today something that I have come to fully accept,” Mr. Harris said in a statement posted by his station. “I made a terrible decision to drink and drive.”
“That is something I am grateful to have survived and something for which I will have to pay a debt to society. I am looking forward to doing so, and being a better and healthier person, husband and father in the process. My alcoholism will not be the end of me, but my acknowledging it is going to be a new beginning for me,” he said.
Mr. Harris had previously pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle while impaired in 2013 along Interstate 270 in Maryland, according to NBC Washington. He was given probation before judgment in that incident.
Mr. Harris has been a staple on D.C.-area newscasts for nearly 20 years. He joined WJLA-7, the region’s ABC station, in 2003 and worked there for 13 years before leaving the station in September 2016. He was hired by WRC in April 2017.
Before coming to the national Capital region, Mr. Harris had been a video journalist and later an anchor at CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta since the mid-1980s.