Country singer George Jones guilty in DWI

Published May 13, 1999|Updated Sept. 29, 2005

Country star George Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to drunken driving for an accident that nearly killed him, and he promised to get help for his drinking problem.

"I'll get my mind straight," Jones vowed after Judge Donald P. Harris approved a plea bargain calling for a $550 fine but no jail time. "I think there will be no more problems at all out of me."

Jones, 67, was allowed to keep his license. He pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and violating the open container law. A reckless driving charge will be dismissed in a year if he completes alcohol counseling and stays out of trouble.

The country singer nearly died after his sport utility vehicle slammed into a bridge near his home outside Nashville on March 6. His liver was severely cut and his right lung was punctured, but he made a remarkable recovery and went home from the hospital after 13 days.

"I don't remember much about the day of the accident, but I do know that I was drinking and obviously my driving was impaired," Jones said after the court session. "I did wrong that day, and I take full responsibility for what happened."

Jones has a well-documented history of alcohol and drug abuse. He pleaded guilty to two drunken driving charges in 1982. He was ordered to perform a benefit concert.

Jones said he had been sober for 12 years before the accident, having only an occasional glass of wine with dinner.