Nationals GM Bowden arrested, charged with DUI

MIAMI -- Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after allegedly running a stop sign while in Florida during his team's series against the Marlins last weekend.

A few minutes before he was stopped, Bowden and his girlfriend were apparently involved in an altercation that left him with scratches and resulted in battery and resisting arrest charges against her.

A Miami Beach police report said the 44-year-old Bowden refused to take a breath-alcohol test after he was stopped at 2:22 a.m. Monday. An officer said he saw Bowden run the stop sign on Collins Avenue, a main thoroughfare in the South Beach neighborhood. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested, the report said.

The report said that "a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage" emanated from the gray 2006 Cadillac STS that Bowden was driving and that he had "bloodshot eyes, glassy eyes, flush red face and slurred speech." The arresting officers concluded that Bowden "was unable to operate a motor vehicle safely."

Under Florida's implied consent law, refusal to submit to a breath test results in an automatic driver's license suspension of at least six months. Bowden had a California driver's license when he was stopped and listed a Los Angeles home address, according to the police report.

A second police report said that about 10 minutes before Bowden was pulled over, two officers saw him and his girlfriend, 36-year-old Joy Browning, arguing along nearby Ocean Drive. After assuring police that everything was fine, they drove off and allegedly ran through the stop sign.

Police then noticed that Bowden had scratches on his right ear and left cheek and told Browning she would be arrested for a domestic violence charge. She refused to get out of the car and struck one of the officers twice after he took her cell phone, police said.

Browning faces a May 8 arraignment on charges of felony resisting arrest with violence, resisting arrest without violence and simple battery. She was held in the Miami-Dade County jail until Tuesday afternoon, when she was released on $5,000 bond, jail officials said.

It was not immediately clear whether Browning had a lawyer.

The Nationals released a statement from Bowden on Tuesday acknowledging his arrest.

"I intend to plead not guilty at a future date in a Miami-Dade court. I deeply regret any embarrassment that my arrest may cause the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball," Bowden said in the statement.

"On the advice of legal counsel, I will have no further comment regarding this incident until the court proceedings are complete," he said.

Bowden's arrest comes as Major League Baseball closes in on announcing a new owner for the former Montreal Expos.

The club was off to the franchise's worst start since 1970 before winning the last two games at Florida to get to 4-9 entering Tuesday night's game at Philadelphia.

"I have talked to Jim Bowden about the regrettable incident that took place Sunday night," Nationals president Tony Tavares said. "The Washington Nationals will monitor the situation as it works its way through the court system and will not make any comment or take any action until the legal issues are resolved."

Bowden was hired by the team in November 2004 as an interim GM, and Washington went 81-81 in his first season with the club, a 14-win improvement from the 2004 season.

His contract was set to expire after last season but was extended for six months. Then, during spring training, his deal was extended through the end of this season.

Bowden was the youngest general manager in major-league history when he took the position with the Cincinnati Reds at age 31 in 1992. He was with the Reds until 2003 and then worked for ESPN before being hired by Washington.