Bruce Springsteen pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges he imbibed alcohol at New Jersey’s Sandy Hook National Recreation Area, despite knowing it was prohibited.
“I had two small shots of Tequila,” Springsteen said in a virtual appearance before New Jersey Federal Court.
The plea came after federal prosecutors agreed to drop charges that Springsteen was operating a vehicle under the influence and driving recklessly, charges Assistant US Attorney Adam Baker said the government would not be able to prove.
“The evidence we reviewed indicates that after the defendant’s arrest, he submitted to a breath test at the ranger station, and his BAC reading was .02, which as the court is aware is well under the legal limit of .08,” Baker said.
Noting that the prohibition on alcoholic drinks at Sandy Hook was two years old, and noting Springsteen’s otherwise clean criminal record, Judge Anthony Mautone sentenced The Boss to pay a $500 fine plus $40 in court fees.
While Springsteen has often sung about driving “suicide machines” down the New Jersey Turnpike, bragged of having his “carburetor, baby, cleaned and checked – with her lines blown out she’s running like a turbo jet,” and sang of being “sprung from cages on Highway 9 – chrome wheeled, fuel injected, and stepping out over the line,” Mautone remarked on the singer’s clean driving record.
“I have in front of me the driver’s abstract of this defendant, going all the way back to 1973,” Mautone said. “There’s three violations in the whole abstract. In fact, two of them aren’t even violations and the third one is use of a hand-held cell device. Rarely would you see a driver’s abstract so devoid of any entries as I see before me, Mr. Springsteen.”
Springsteen was arrested at Gateway National Recreation Area on November 14 and charged with DWI, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area, according to a spokesperson for the National Park Service.
That night, a source close to the singer said earlier this month, Springsteen took a shot of alcohol with fans in the park after taking a photo with them. The source added that Springsteen is known to take photographs with fans. “That’s typical Bruce,” the source said.
One officer said they observed Springsteen “consume a shot of Patron tequila and then get on his motorcycle and start the engine,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by CNN.
Springsteen told the officer he had consumed two shots of tequila in the previous 20 minutes, according to the probable cause statement.
“SPRINGSTEEN smelt strongly of alcohol coming off his person and had glassy eyes,” the officer said in the statement, adding he “was visibly swaying back and forth while I observed his eyes.”
Springsteen, according to the officer, took 45 steps during the “walk and turn” test “instead of the instructed 18.”
Prior to the screening, the officer said he approached Springsteen and informed him alcohol was prohibited in the park and asked whether Springsteen was leaving, to which “he confirmed he was going to drive out of the park,” the statement said.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Christina Carrega, Konstantin Toropin and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.