Former Police Captain Blames DUI on Ambien


Tony Pearsall, former Vallejo Police Captain and city councilman was arrested on July 22 on suspicion of misdemeanor driving under the influence and hit and run charges.

Witnesses flagged down a police car when they saw a vehicle clip a parked car in the parking lot of a grocery store. After running the license plate number, it was determined that the vehicle was registered to Pearsall. Another patrol car went to Pearsall’s address. As the patrol car turned onto Pearsall’s street, the officer noticed Pearsall’s vehicle approaching at a low rate of speed, driving on the wrong side of the street. The patrol car stopped turned its siren on. Pearsall’s vehicle continued at the low rate of speed and eventually rolled into the front of the patrol car, nose-to-nose, causing minor damage to the patrol car’s bumper.

When taken out of his vehicle, Pearsall displayed symptoms of intoxication. He was then taken to the hospital a blood test and was later cited and released to his wife, Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes.

Pearsall’s attorney Dan Russo asserts that the former Councilman suffers from insomnia and that Ambien “[is] the only way he can sleep.” According to Russo, Pearsall had forgotten he had taken the medicine when his wife asked him to make a quick trip to the store to get some medicine for her.

Pearsall also takes vicodine for back pain and has admitted to having a glass of wine with dinner that night. However, Russo claims that it was the Ambien, not the “mild painkillers” or the “miniscule” amount of alcohol, which caused the Councilman’s mishap.

Russo stated, “Even though it’s a very minor and petty offense – really, no one was hurt, no one was injured – it’s a complete humiliation for him and he’s having a hard time with it.”

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