Former soccer star Hope Solo has pleaded guilty to driving while impaired nearly four months after she was discovered passed out behind the wheel of a car in North Carolina, with her two-year-old twins in the vehicle.
The former US national team goalkeeper entered the plea on Monday and also faced charges of misdemeanour child abuse and resisting a public officer in relation to the 31 March incident. Solo’s lawyer Chris Clifton noted in an Associated Press report that those wo charges were dismissed voluntarily.
A press release from the Forsyth County District Attorney’s Office stated that the judge handed down a 24-month suspended sentence and a 30-day active sentence. Solo was given a credit of 30 days for the time that she spent at a rehabilitation facility.
The 40-year-old was also ordered to pay $2,500 in fines and a fee of $600 to pay for lab tests. Solo also has to undergo a substance abuse assessment and finish all suggested treatments.
Solo is from Roaring Gap, around 60 miles (96km) northwest of Winston-Salem in northwest North Carolina.
Following the guilty plea, the former goalkeeper issued a statement shared to her social media pages saying that she took pride in being a mother and how she cared for her children alongside her husband during the pandemic, but she added that “it was incredibly hard and I made a huge mistake”.
“Easily the worst mistake of my life. I underestimated what a destructive part of my life alcohol had become,” she said. “The upside of making a mistake this big is that hard lessons are learned quickly. Learning these lessons has been difficult, and at times, very painful.”
A police report at the time noted that Solo was arrested in the parking lot of a shopping centre in Winston-Salem after a person passing her vehicle saw her passed out behind the wheel for over an hour with the engine running and the children in the backseat.
An officer responding to the scene smelled alcohol and the warrant said that Solo refused to take part in a field sobriety test. After being taken to the magistrate’s office, she still rejected a breath test leading to a police search warrant for a blood sample being issued.
The test found that she had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit – 0.24 per cent -- and had THC in her system.
The DUI arrest was hardly Solo’s first brush with controversy. In 2016, she had been dismissed from the national team following the Rio de Janeiro Olympics for making disparaging remarks about the Swedish team. Prior to that, she was suspended in 2015 for 30 days after she and her husband Jerramy Stevens were pulled over in a US Soccer-owned van. Stevens was charged with DUI.
In 2014, Solo was arrested after an altercation with family, but those charges were later dropped.