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    George Jones Falls Off Wagon

    George Jones "did wrong."

    And with that apology, the hard-living country legend, once dubbed No Show for his propensity to bail on scheduled concerts, pleaded guilty in Tennessee today to a charge of drunken-driving for the single-car crash that nearly killed him last March.

    Jones was fined $550 and ordered to enter an alcohol counseling program--a road the singer's been down before.

    "Truthfully, the struggle never ends, and I will get treatment to help me cope better," Jones told reporters. He said he'd been sober for 12 years prior to driving his sports utility vehicle into a bridge near his Nashville home on March 6.

    Local authorities initially said alcohol played no part in the accident, blaming it instead on a cell-phone conservation and Jones' subsequent inattentiveness to the road. But later it was learned an open bottle of vodka was found at the crash site--lying under Jones' front passenger-side seat.

    In court today, the 67-year-old entertainer pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and violating an open-container law. He also faces a reckless driving charge, but that will be dismissed if he completes alcohol rehab.

    Jones told reporters he still doesn't remember much of the details of the crash that left him with a punctured liver--and clinging to life. What he does remember, he said, is that he was drinking. (Jones' blood-alcohol test results have not been made public.)

    "I did wrong that day, and I take full responsibility for what happened," he said.

    This is Jones' second conviction on drunken-driving charges--the first coming in 1982.

    He said he wants to get back to the stage and performing--like the great country music fan in the sky would want him to do.

    "I came very close to death, and I know the Lord works in mysterious ways and he spared me," Jones said. "I can only believe that he still has work for me to do here."

    Jones is among the most famous male country singers ever, and with late ex-wife Tammy Wynette, once reigned as one-half of the Industry's royal couple. Notable songs include: "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "The Race Is On."

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