Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News Group — Macklemore dives the peace sign outside Island County District Court in Oak Harbor.

Macklemore appears in court on suspended driver’s license charge

He didn’t exactly beat the rap, but Macklemore got a deal out of the Island County Prosecutor’s Office.

The Grammy-award-winning hip-hop artist and songwriter, whose real name is Benjamin Haggerty, briefly appeared in Island County District Court in Oak Harbor Monday morning to deal with a criminal traffic citation.

The hearing took place just as — in an apparently unrelated matter — the moon began to eclipse the sun. A hard-nosed journalist at the scene asked Macklemore if he planned on watching the celestial event.

“Yeah,” he said.

Except for a couple of flustered reporters, no one in the gallery appeared to recognize Macklemore, whose signature haircut — floppy on top, shaved on the sides — is long gone.

Macklemore escaped injury July 28 when a suspected drunk driver in Langley crossed the centerline and struck the rapper’s 2016 Mercedes-Maybach AMG S600 sedan head-on. His $191,000 car was totaled; the other driver, 24-year-old Freeland resident Jake O’Brian Pitcher, suffered injuries to his face.

To top off Macklemore’s very bad day on Whidbey Island, an officer handed him a citation for driving with a license suspended in the second degree. His license was inactive because he hadn’t paid a ticket in a timely manner.

Macklemore could have sent a lawyer to deal with the case, but he called court personnel ahead of time and said he wanted to handle it himself, according to District Court Judge Bill Hawkins.

The judge didn’t get to hear Macklemore’s case — that duty went to Court Commissioner Linda Kipling, which is just as well, as Hawkins is more of a Gregg Allman fan.

Since Macklemore paid his ticket, got his license reinstated prior to the hearing and is a first-time offender, Deputy Prosecutor Elizabeth Dasse agreed to allow the musician to plead to the lesser offense of driving with no valid operator’s license and pay a $150 fine.

“I appreciate the offer from the state,” Macklemore said. “You have a deal.”

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