LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (July 19, 2006) — The state of Arkansas is prepared to pardon Keith Richards for being a reckless driver, 31 years later.
The state Parole Board on July 3 approved an application for clemency submitted on behalf of Richards, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, by Gov. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has until 30 days from Tuesday to sign it, clearing Richards’ record.
Richards was arrested July 5, 1975, as he, bandmate Ron Wood, a security guard and a fan traveled from Memphis, Tenn., to Dallas. The group had stopped in Fordyce for lunch, then got back on the road with Richards driving.
A Fordyce officer saw the car swerve — Richards said later he bent to adjust the radio — and stopped the vehicle. Police said they smelled marijuana and took the four to City Hall.
Richards was charged with reckless driving and possession of a concealed knife, and the fan was charged with possession of a controlled substance. The knife charge was dropped, and Richards pleaded guilty to reckless driving and paid a $162.50 fine.
Fran Curtis, a Stones publicist, said she knew nothing about the application for clemency. Messages left for Richards’ manager, Jane Rose, weren’t returned.
Huckabee plays bass guitar in a band called Capitol Offense that performed for the Republican National Convention in 2004 in New York City.
The governor said he got the idea for a pardon when he realized that Richards’ impression of Arkansas “was marred by a misdemeanor traffic stop.”
During a Stones concert in Little Rock in March, Richards, 62, asked whether anyone in the audience was from Fordyce, adding, “I used to know the chief of police there.”