Ottawa councillor caught texting while driving during city meeting

Osgood Coun. George Darouze is apologizing Tuesday after the live stream of a virtual city audit committee captured footage of him texting while driving.

Midway through the audit committee’s review of the Lansdowne Park partnership deal on Tuesday morning, Darouze’s camera on the Zoom live stream showed the councillor start his car and begin driving.

Darouze remains in the frame as the meeting continues for the next two minutes, for much of it seeming to text on his phone as trees pass by out the car’s window.

Read more: Distracted driving is No. 1 cause of deaths on Ontario roads

He eventually looks back over at the device he’s using to attend the meeting and turns off his camera.

Multiple people following the audit committee meeting caught the incident and posted about it on social media.

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Global News reached out to the councillor for comment but has not heard back.

Darouze posted on his public Facebook page at 1:15 p.m. to address the incident.

“This morning, I inadvertently texted while I was driving. I apologize for this and commit to my family and residents that this won’t happen again,” he wrote.

He later deleted the apology and reposted it shortly after 3 p.m., removing “inadvertently” but adding, “This was a stupid thing to do and I should not have done this.”

Ottawa police told Global News it is “aware of a video from this morning showing a driver with a handheld device, which appears to depict an Ontario Highway Traffic Act offence.”

An OPS spokesperson noted police do not identify the subjects of investigations until charges are laid.

While police are aware of such a video, the spokesperson said an investigation would only be launched following a public complaint.

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