Closings and delays

Rockingham County Commissioner Keith Mabe pleads guilty to DWIs

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WENTWORTH, N.C. -- Rockingham County Commissioner Keith Mabe pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of driving while intoxicated and one count of driving with an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

Mabe appeared in court with his wife and son by his side. His attorney spoke on his behalf, saying Mabe deeply regretted his actions and the shame they have brought upon his family and the county. Mabe's attorney successfully asked the judge to delay sentencing until November, so that Mabe could continue going to treatment four days a week, and eventually check himself into rehab full-time.

In the Rockingham County courtroom, District Attorney Craig Blitzer described the two incidents in which Mabe received DWIs.

The first, he said, occurred Dec. 13, 2014. In that case, Blitzer said Mabe went left of center and nearly hit a deputy, and later crashed his truck into someone's front yard.

"And what you didn't hear was that the yard he crashed into -- that gentleman was in his yard with his grandkids five minutes before Mr. Mabe crashed into it," Blitzer said. "So it's just by the grace of God that he hit a tree and not a bunch of people in their front yard."

Blitzer said when troopers arrived at the scene, the accident report details that Mabe spent minutes sifting through his wallet trying to find his driver's license, passed it several times, and ultimately handed over a credit card.

The second time, Blitzer said Mabe was stopped by a trooper after a series of reckless driving events, including coming to a complete stop in the wrong lane of traffic. Blitzer said Mabe proceeded to be combative with law enforcement.

"I think these are egregious DWIs," Blitzer said. "These are seriously aggravated offenses. Terrible behavior by the defendant."

Blitzer said Mabe could face a maximum of six years and twenty days in jail. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 16.