UPDATE: Springsteen took shot of tequila, was ‘swaying’ and ‘glassy eyed’ in DWI arrest, court records say
A day after news broke that rock legend Bruce Springsteen had been charged with drunken driving at the Jersey Shore last fall, separate sourced reports have emerged that he was ticketed after taking a shot with fans while he sat on his motorcycle at Sandy Hook and that his blood alcohol level was below the state’s legal limit.
Springsteen, 71, has no known history of dealings with the police. The Freehold native currently lives on a sprawling estate in Colts Neck.
He was charged on Nov. 14, 2020 with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area on Sandy Hook, in the Gateway National Recreation Area at the northeast tip of Monmouth County, park officials confirmed.
A Gateway spokesperson said the singer was cooperative, but offered no further details and advised the media to file a federal Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the incident report.
Springsteen has made no public statements on the arrest, as of Thursday morning. Late Wednesday, Jeep paused the showing of “The Middle,” a two-minute political film Springsteen made for the car company that first appeared during the Super Bowl.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving issued a statement saying the organization was “outraged” to hear of the arrest. “The fact that this arrest was not revealed by authorities in New Jersey until after Springsteen’s appearance driving a Jeep in a high-priced Super Bowl commercial is infuriating.”
Here’s what else has come from the incident:
Fox News reported Thursday that Springsteen smelled of alcohol, initially refused to give a breath test and a park ranger spotted the singer take a shot of Patron tequila and then start up his motorcycle. The report said they’d obtained a court document in the arrest.
Springsteen told the arresting ranger he had “two shots of tequila in the last 20 minutes.” The ranger also wrote Springsteen “smelt strongly of alcohol… had glassy eyes…[and was] visibly swaying back and forth while I observed his eyes,” the report said.
The Asbury Park Press reported late Wednesday that Springsteen’s blood alcohol content, or BAC, was .02 – a quarter of the state’s legal limit of .08. The report cited “a source familiar with the case,” and questioned why he was even charged with DWI with a low level of alcohol.
The New York Post reported early Thursday also reported that Springsteen was on a motorcycle and pulled over to take a picture with fans and took a shot of tequila offered by a fan, according to the source identified only as a “music insider.” Park police watched this unfold and pulled Springsteen over as he drove away, the report said.
Sandy Hook, and Gateway (which also has lands in Staten Island, New York), are part of the National Park Service and patrolled by park rangers who are federal law enforcement officers. Violations at Sandy Hook, like drunken driving and other traffic matters, run through U.S. District Court in Newark.
The charges Springsteen faces would normally be handled in a New Jersey town’s municipal court. HIs case will be adjudicated in a part of the federal courts known as enclave court.
TMZ was first to report the charges and said Springsteen is due for a court appearance in the next few weeks.
Sandy Hook is a 6-mile Shore lover’s haven with numerous ocean and bay side beaches for boating, surfing, fishing and suntanning on a peninsula that was once a military installation. It has family beaches and a well-known clothing optional beach. For years, it was one of the Jersey Shore’s last places to drink alcohol on the beach.
In 2019, the park banned alcohol after hundreds of booze-fueled incidents from 2016 to 2018, the park said.
Springsteen’s lawyer for the charges is unclear. Attempts to reach his representatives have not been successful.
Springsteen, who previously owned a home in Rumson, a few towns from Sandy Hook, has filmed several music videos and other projects at the federal park. They include the album cover for 1987′s “Tunnel of Love.” And the music videos for “Brilliant Disguise” from the solo record and his 2014 short film “Hunter of Invisible Game” .
Springsteen is known to travel around New Jersey and blend with the people and landscape he’s often chronicled in his 50 years of music making. “Boss sightings” sometimes make the news or social media.
In November 2016, Springsteen’s motorcycle broke down near Allaire State Park in Wall on a solo ride and other riders came upon him and one gave him a ride to a local bar, where he shot the breeze for 45 minutes until his ride showed up. They talked bikes and growing up in Freehold.
And in 2010, he sat on a park bench on the Manasquan River inlet on the Manasquan side when a couple taking picture for their engagement spotted Springsteen after he called out the man, who had an acoustic guitar. Springsteen played the guitar and posed for pictures with the couple – who later told the tale on the Today show.
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Kevin Shea may be reached at [email protected]