Busch apologizes, blames 'lack of judgment' for speeding incident | People
CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - NASCAR's Kyle Busch has been in the headlines in the past week, not for his performance on the track - but for his alleged speed off the track.
Busch was cited for speeding nearly three times the speed limit on Tuesday in Iredell County. Busch was clocked driving 128 miles per hour in an area slated as a 45 mile per hour zone, according to the Sheriff's Office
On Thursday, the 26-year-old professional driver spoke to the media for the first time, addressing the issue during a round of interviews with drivers before the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord this weekend.
Busch told reporters that he was sorry for his actions and his "lack of judgment." When he was pulled over in the $200,000 supercar, he allegedly told the deputy that "it's just a toy." according a ticket from the sheriff's office.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view a photo gallery of Kyle Busch's life
When asked Thursday why he was driving nearly three times the speed limit, Busch responded that he was "certainly sorry that it happened, all I can do is apologize to the public, my friends and my fans."
Busch was test driving a new 2012 yellow Lexus LFA supercar -- that has 552 horsepower -- and was with a female passenger, investigators said. He pulled over into a church parking lot after deputies flashed him with the blue lights, deputies said.
"It was a car that was on loan to me from Lexus, and it wasn't that it was a toy, but a high performance vehicle," Busch said on Thursday. "That shouldn't be taken lightly and should be driven with caution. And obviously I didn't have caution."
Busch was charged with careless and reckless driving and speeding, deputies told WBTV.
Previous article: Kyle Busch was going 128 mph in 45 zone, deputies say
"There's probably a reason why in TV commercials and such they always show at the bottom 'Professional driver, closed course' and mine was not that," Busch said Thursday.
On Tuesday, Busch issued a statement on the incident.
"I take responsibility for my actions and I can assure you that something like this will never happen again," a statement from Busch that was released on Tuesday evening stated. "I thank the Iredell County Sheriff’s Department and all law enforcement for the hard work they do every day to protect the public and to enforce the laws in a fair and equitable manner.”
Busch echoed his respect for law enforcement on Thursday afternoon while speaking to the media.
"I have the utmost respect for authorities across the United States who keep us safe. Obviously, I had a lack of judgment and made a mistake and I'm sorry for that."
Many people wrote to WBTV, via e-mail and social media, angry that Busch had only been given a citation and not arrested. They felt as if he received "special treatment."
Other NASCAR drivers, and the man who owns the team for which Busch races, also spoke out.
"I think we get to drive fast enough on the racetrack," said Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. "That's why I drive a trcuk so I'm not tempted."
"I think some people are their own worst enemy when it comes to being responsible as a person, as a business person," said rival Kevin Harvick. "Anything that comes with life's responsobilities."
"It's something you take as a very serious thing," said Joe Gibbs, who stood in the back of the room during the press conference. "Then I thought about what I've been thinking about the last two days, um, trying to take this, learn from it, try to do something from the standpoint of something positive that we do."
Previous article: Did Kyle Busch get special treatment?
"I'm sorry, I'm not the jurisdiction (sic) to make the case," Busch told reporters Thursday when asked if he felt he received special treatment.
WBTV's David Whisenant spoke with a North Carolina police chief and traffic attorney on Wednesday to investigate if Busch had gotten off easy.
Both men told WBTV that it appeared that Busch was treated properly, saying that issuing of the citation was the appropriate action on the part of Iredell County deputy who pulled Busch over.
"The attitude of the person, unless they get unruly, question the ancestry of the officer involved, I wouldn't think they would take them to jail, put them under a bond, have the vehicle towed and impounded, all of which could happen, but it's been a long time since I've seen it," said attorney Cecil Whitley.
A police chief told WBTV that officers have discretion in such cases, and that most of the time for speeding an reckless driving, a citation would be issued. The driver would only be arrested if there were other circumstances, such as additional charges for eluding arrest, alcohol, involvement in an accident, or if the officer determined that the driver would be unlikely to show up for court.
He said in this case, Kyle Busch would not be considered a flight risk.
As far as the penalty is concerned, if Busch were to be convicted on the charges he now faces, he would lose his North Carolina driver's license for one year. That would not impact his ability to drive a race car since NASCAR requires each driver to have a NASCAR license, not a driver's license.
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