Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker will teach at Yale this year as the University’s first Kissinger Senior Fellow despite facing drunk driving and hit-and-run charges in Wasington state.
On Aug. 14, Crocker hit a semi-truck in Spokane Valley, Wash., when he tried to make a right turn from the left lane, before registering a .160 and .152 blood-alcohol content in successive breath tests, authorities allege, according to the Associated Press. A day after the arrest, Yale announced that it had appointed Crocker to a position at the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy and would have the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and several other Middle Eastern countries teach students in the 2012-’13 academic year.
“Yale was quite concerned, of course, to hear of Ambassador Crocker’s arrest the week before last in Spokane,” said Jim Levinsohn, director of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, which houses the Johnson Center, explaining that he still expects Crocker to teach this year. “We are in touch with Ambassador Crocker as he answers the charges and addresses his legal situation.”
Driving a 2009 Ford Mustang convertible, Crocker tried to turn right from the left lane, into the path of a truck in the right lane, State Patrol Trooper Troy Briggs told the Associated Press. Though Crocker’s car spun out after the two vehicles collided, he kept driving, Briggs said. Neither Crocker nor the truck driver was injured.
“[Crocker] was very cooperative but obviously intoxicated,” Briggs told the Associated Press.
The DUI and hit-and-run charges are both misdemeanors. Crocker would face a maximum of 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine if he is found guilty of either crime.
Crocker pleaded not guilty to the charges against him the following day, Reuters reported. His Spokane-based attorney, Julie Twyford, did not return a request for comment.
At Yale, Crocker is slated to teach a module on Afghanistan in Levinsohn’s “Gateway to Global Affairs” class this fall. In the spring, Crocker plans to teach two seminars of his own, Levinsohn said.
“Ambassador Crocker is one of the most highly decorated diplomats of his generation, having served in many of the most demanding and dangerous posts in the Foreign Service,” Levinsohn said. “He is a seven-time ambassador, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and I know that his experiences will be invaluable to our students.”
Crocker’s Yale position is within the Johnson Center, which was made possible by the donation of papers by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a gift from Nicholas Brady ’52 and Charles Johnson ’54.
Provost Peter Salovey, whose office handles faculty appointments, deferred to Levinsohn for comment.
Crocker is currently on leave from Texas A&M University, where he is dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service. In his foreign service career, he has served as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon, in addition to his most recent posting in Afghanistan.
“I am so pleased to learn that Ambassador Crocker will teach at Yale,” Kissinger said in a Yale press release. “He has been a remarkable diplomat, and he has served the United States with great distinction in some of the most challenging assignments in the entire Foreign Service.”
Crocker’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 12 in Spokane.