FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Court documents on Monday revealed new details in this weekend’s arrest of Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.
The mayor, 70, was booked into the Allen County Jail on Sunday on one misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person and a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration equal to .15 percent or more, according to court records. Indiana’s legal limit is below .08 percent.
Court documents revealed the mayor admitted to officers that he had too many glasses of wine at a fundraiser and to being involved in a crash in the 4400 block of Old Mill Road. The mayor was at the Civic Theater, the documents said.
According to the affidavit, police noted that the mayor’s eyes were watery and bloodshot, his face was flushed, his speech was slurred, and that he was argumentative.
The mayor’s wife and mother-in-law were also in the car, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Additionally, Mayor Henry drove left of center and struck another car, the documents said.
Mayor Henry was given both a sobriety test, which included a walk and turn and a one leg stand at the scene, and chemical test 50 minutes later at the jail, which he submitted to. The documents say he had a BAC of .152%.
Henry was released sometime Sunday morning on his own recognizance, jail staff said.
Henry addressed the media Sunday afternoon, making a second statement in response to his overnight arrest.
“I am terribly embarrassed by the poor decision making that occurred last evening,” Henry said in the media briefing. “I am sorry that I put our police department in that situation last evening. I knew better… I will be held accountable for those actions in future legal proceedings. I respect our legal process, and I will adhere to decisions made by our court, and I will accept those consequences.”
“As your mayor, I will not hide from my actions, nor will I make excuses. But today I ask that you please respect my inability to speak to the facts of the matter until I am fairly and appropriately adjudicated,” Henry said, adding he would not take any questions at that time.
A request for the police report involving the incident resulted in this email response from Sergeant Jeremy Webb, FWPD’s public information officer: “We do not release police reports for ongoing investigations…”
WANE 15 submitted FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to obtain officer bodycam footage, the police report, and anything else related to the crash. City of Fort Wayne attorney Malak Heiny denied the requests citing “an investigatory record of a law enforcement agency.”
The mayor’s media briefing on Sunday was a follow-up to an initial statement from the mayor’s spokesman, John Perlich, who confirmed the mayor was involved in a crash. Officers determined that he was impaired and tests confirmed that.
The statement included this quote from Mayor Henry:
“I want to apologize to the residents of Fort Wayne and my family for the poor decision I made to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking at a local function. I accept full responsibility for my actions. I’m relieved that no one was hurt in this incident. The Fort Wayne Police Department handled this situation with professionalism and followed all of the correct procedures and protocols.”
Mayor Henry is the longest tenured Fort Wayne mayor. He announced in June that he is running for a historic fifth term.
Henry has served as mayor since 2008.
Republican councilman and mayoral candidate Tom Didier made a statement Sunday morning:
“I have known the Henry family for much of my life. Cindy Henry actually was one of the first people to encourage me to run for public office. These relationships go beyond politics. I would encourage everyone to pray for them and all those involved in this accident and I hope that no one was seriously harmed.”
Didier is the only other confirmed mayoral candidate for 2023.
Jason Arp, the president of city council, said in a statement:
“I was saddened to hear the news this morning. We can all be thankful that no one was injured. My family will keep the mayor and his family in our prayers during this difficult time. It’s best that we limit our comments until all investigations into the matter have been concluded.”
WANE 15 reported in August the councilman is also considering a run for the mayor’s office.
Councilman Geoff Paddock issued a statement Sunday afternoon:
“This is a challenging time for our city. I want to thank the Fort Wayne Police Department and our outstanding police officers for following correct procedure and for their professionalism. I respect Mayor Tom Henry for stepping forward and taking responsibility for his actions on Saturday evening. I have known Tom and Cindy Henry for many years. They are good friends and dedicated community leaders. When those of us in the public spotlight falter, it is important to offer remorse and contrition, and ask for atonement from our constituents. Mayor Henry has done that today, and I applaud him for his statement.”
At-Large Councilman Tom Freistroffer issued a statement early Sunday evening.
“I commend the mayor’s media release comments to his family and to the citizens of Fort Wayne- it was an unfortunate accident on the mayor’s part as Mayor Tom Henry apologized in an open manner, to all -Thank God no one was injured !“
Independent Congressional candidate Nathan Gotsch, who founded a COVID-19 initiative Henry serves on the board of, made a statement. A portion of the statement reads:
“Everyone makes mistakes and, like the Mayor, I am relieved that all indications are that no one was hurt. One of the requirements of holding public office is accountability and transparency in moments like these. The Mayor’s statements at his press conference earlier today are a step in the right direction, but more is still needed as this process moves forward. I encourage Mayor Henry to ask the FWPD to release the police report now so that the citizens of Fort Wayne know the full story of what happened. Only then will we as a community be able to move beyond this incident together.”
Additionally, the Allen County Democratic Party responded to Mayor Henry’s arrest. The party’s chairman Derek Camp told WANE 15:
“Mayor Tom Henry has apologized and has taken responsibility for his actions. The legal process is in place to ensure accountability for all, and we trust that process will occur.”