Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough pleaded guilty Feb. 24 to a Class B misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated filed following a September car crash in The Woodlands.

The crash took place on Grogan's Mill Road on Sept. 10 last year. Joseph Pullen, a Texas Department of Public Safety patrol sergeant, said in an arrest affidavit that Keough struck two vehicles, including a Montgomery County Constable Precinct 5 SUV, while driving west on the road before coming to a stop. Pullen said in the affidavit that Keough was mentally and physically impaired at that time, and zolpidem—commonly sold under brand names including Ambien—was found in his blood following the incident. Keough previously stated he had been using the sleep aid as prescribed by his doctor.

"What I did not understand at the time is that this can have lingering effects, and sleep aids in general can have lingering effects the next day. But the fact of the matter is, my motivation or how I did it or where I got it from is not a defense to prosecution," Keough said in a Feb. 24 video statement addressing his guilty plea. "I got up, I went to work, and just as usual, but I didn't expect it to end this way and sure enough it resulted in this DWI. I’ve labored over this; I’ve given this a lot of thought; and you know I take responsibility for that because the fact of the matter is, they did find it in my bloodstream."

According to the case judgment filed in Montgomery County Court at Law 1 on Feb. 24, Keough agreed to plea bargain of a $2,000 fine and 90-day driver's license suspension, and three days in county jail counted as time served.

Keough and his attorney, Douglas W. Atkinson of Conroe, also said Keough accepted the charge to avoid it being a distraction in the county. Keough also said he viewed the crash and charge as a "learning experience" for using sleep medication.

"Judge Keough does not want this case to be distraction in his fight to keep Montgomery County open so that the citizens of Montgomery County can go to work, school, church and gather with friends and family. He will continue to work every day to ensure that Montgomery County’s vaccine program provides as many vaccinations as possible to its citizens," Atkinson said in a statement. "Judge Keough took office to fight for the citizens of this county and he will continue to fight to keep Montgomery County strong as he leads the county through its recovery in the aftermath of the winter storm and through the pandemic towards an even stronger future."