NASCAR driver charged with DWI also cited in 2010 crash

NASCAR driver charged with DWI also cited in 2010 crash

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by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 8, 2011 at 7:13 PM

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- State DMV records show a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver charged with DWI, texting while driving and resisting police was involved in a crash seven months ago and used a similar excuse.

Police say Nationwide driver Michael Annett was four times the legal blood alcohol limit when they stopped him after a crash Sunday.

Investigators say Annett ate breath mints to hide the smell and told them texting is why he couldn't stop in time.

"On the cell phone" and "could not stop in time" are the same words used on a DMV crash report with Michael Annett's name on it from July, 2010 on the Brookshire Freeway near Graham Street in Charlotte.

It says Annett rear-ended a car, then that car rear-ended the car in front of it.

The victim is a college student in West Virginia.

Her dad says Annett was texting and driving, never hit the brakes, totaled his daughter's car and she needed physical therapy.

The victim of the second car listed in the report also says Annett was texting while driving.

"I follow Nationwide, so I know who Michael Annett is,” said NASCAR fan Russ Mason.

He was in town on Tuesday from Indiana visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

He read Annett's apology for the DWI.

It reads:

“I am deeply remorseful for my actions and my extreme lack of judgment. I let down my team, my sponsors, my fans and my family; I sincerely apologize to everyone that I hurt.  This was truly a life-changing moment for me.  Despite all the negativity that will undoubtedly arise from it, I’m going to strive to use this incident as the impetus to make a lot of positive changes in my life.”

"Yeah, I believe it,” Mason said. “He doesn't have a record, a history of this, so I believe it."

Then we showed him the DMV crash report from July with Annett’s name on it, plus the same address, date of birth, phone number and drivers license.

"Professional race car drivers should be more responsible,” he said.

An apology race fans say seems hollow, when Annett calls his DWI arrest a "life-changing" moment, but according to DMV records, a crash seven months earlier involved the same excuse. 

Records show Annett was cited for failing to reduce speed.

It had nothing to do with alcohol and Annett was not cited for anything alcohol related in that accident.

"He says he's learned a lesson. Well obviously he hasn't. I absolutely don't buy it at all,” said race fan Stan Whitten.

We wanted to know what if anything NASCAR plans to do as a result of Annett’s arrest.

This is their statement:

"NASCAR is in contact with Michael Annett's owners at Rusty Wallace Racing to determine the facts and what happened. NASCAR will address the issue accordingly once we have a clear understanding of all the facts."

Rusty Wallace Racing, who Annett drives for, says Annett will undergo a comprehensive alcohol awareness program and community service in addition to internal sanctions.

They did not respond to a call about the July accident.

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