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Former WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Jennifer Howe on her Mother's Day arrest: "I am shameful, I am regretful"

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(UPDATE: This story was updated with new information at 6:58 p.m.)

Former WTSP-Ch. 10 weekend anchor Jennifer Howe was arrested and charged with driving under the influence with an accident Sunday afternoon.

Reached at home via phone on Monday, a tearful Howe says missing her 8-year-old daughter on Mother’s Day led to “a horrible, horrible mistake” culminating with her arrest.

“I missed my child and I made a horrible, horrible mistake,” she said. “It’s not a way to cope with anything. I am deeply, deeply sorry. I am shameful, I am regretful and I hope the public will forgive me and learn something from it.”

Court records show that Howe, 43, was barred from having “contact of any kind” with her daughter on April 22. The order says she must “prove a substantial change in circumstances that she is drug and alcohol free” for the court to consider allowing contact.

Howe said she was on the telephone in her car at the parking lot of a CVS store at 54th Avenue and Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg when police approached her, asked for identification and eventually arrested her.

The former anchor said she could not remember events leading to the arrest, blaming a mix of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication she is taking. St. Petersburg Police Officer Tonia Nave said the police report shows Howe registered a 0.152 blood alcohol level after taking a Breathalyzer test when she was booked, about 90 minutes after the arrest -- a result almost twice the legal limit at which a person is considered impaired.

Nave said a witness told officers that Howe’s vehicle may have hit a school crossing sign and officers found part of a plastic grill that matched damage to Howe’s car at a nearby traffic sign. Upon visiting her house, officers also found damage indicating she backed the car out of her garage while the doors were down, Nave said.

Howe was also cited for driving with an expired license, the officer said.

Her daughter was with her father, WTSP’s former top anchor, M.W. “Pat” Minarcin, on Sunday, Howe said. Minarcin and Howe’s marriage ended in 2006.

Howe, who was let go by WTSP in September after more than a dozen years, has not yet found another job.

“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody,” Howe said. “But I have a court date, I’ll be there, I’ll try to explain and hope things go my way. If they don’t, I deserve it, and I will accept it. I’ll take whatever the judge decides.”

(Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report)

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Click below to read the initial report on Howe's arrest:   

Former WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Jennifer Howe was arrested Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg for driving under the influence with an accident, according to police records featured on the Web site Tampa Bay Mug Shots.

Howe, 43, was released at 7:09 p.m. Sunday on $500 bond, according to police records.

According to the arrest report, an officer responding to a call saw Howe inside an SUV at the parking lot of a CVS pharmacy at 54th Avenue and Fourth Street N Sunday. The report says she seemed confused in speaking with the officer, who noticed the smell of alcohol.

During the stop, a witness told police a car matching the description of Howe's vehicle was seen striking a school crossing sign. Howe was given a Breathalyzer test; police said her results were over the limit but did not provide a specific result. She was arrested after officers conducted a short investigation.

Howe was let go by WTSP in September after more than 12 years, most of them spent as the station's weekend anchor.

Howe has a young daughter with her former husband, ex-WTSP anchor Pat Minarcin.

I'll try to provide more information after checking with police and other sources.   

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[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:57pm]

    

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