Gainesville mayor Craig Lowe was arrested early this morning by Florida Highway Patrol troopers after he was found asleep behind the wheel of a badly damaged Honda Civic near the scene of an accident.

Lowe, who appeared intoxicated, admitted to having had three beers the previous night.

A blood alcohol test performed at the scene showed Lowe was below the legal limit for driving (0.08), but the troopers decided to arrest him on a DUI charge on the basis of his impairment at the time of the crash.

Lowe was also booked into the Alachua County Jail on a charge of property damage.

Gatorville's first openly gay mayor, Lowe came in second in this week's mayoral election, and is set to face former City Commissioner Ed Braddy in next month's runoff.

UPDATE: As noted by a commenter, Lowe's rival Braddy was similarly arrested for drunk driving back in 2006. Unlike Lowe, however, Braddy's blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.184 — well above the legal limit.

[mug shot via ABC Action News]