WASHINGTON – Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt announced Tuesday that he has resigned following his arrest in Virginia on drunken-driving charges.
Babbitt said he did not want to "let anything cast a shadow on the outstanding work done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by my colleagues at the FAA." He said he submitted his resignation Tuesday, "and it has been accepted."
The announcement comes after Babbitt, 65, was arrested Saturday night in Fairfax City, Va., by a patrolman who said the FAA administrator was driving on the wrong side of the road. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.
Babbitt apparently delayed telling administration officials about the arrest. White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama and Transportation Department officials learned of the arrest Monday afternoon, about an hour before a statement was released saying Babbitt had been placed on leave at his request.
In a written statement, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called Babbitt a "dedicated public servant and outstanding leader," crediting him with making the nation's aviation system "safer and stronger."
Babbitt said he is "confident" in the FAA's ability to "carry out all of the critical safety initiatives underway" as he departs the agency.
"Serving as FAA Administrator has been an absolute honor and the highlight of my professional career," he said.
Babbitt was about halfway through a five-year term. Deputy FAA Administrator Michael Huerta will serve as acting administrator.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.