A Santa Maria-based California Highway Patrol officer accused of driving under the influence pleaded not guilty Thursday and had his initial blood screening come back negative for drugs and alcohol, authorities said.
Michael Mallory, 37, who was acting as public information officer for the CHP’s Santa Maria office at the time, reportedly crashed his vehicle into two parked cars about 6:30 a.m. Aug. 8 in Arroyo Grande. He wasn’t on duty at the time, but was on his way to work.
Police responded and conducted field sobriety tests. Mallory appeared to show signs of impairment, but officers were able to determine that alcohol wasn’t the cause, according to Arroyo Grande police Cmdr. Beau Pryor.
Officers gave him a preliminary alcohol screening test, which tested negative at the scene, and Mallory submitted to a blood test.
The blood test results were negative for alcohol, so it’s common procedure to then test for the most commonly abused drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamines and marijuana, San Luis Obispo Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran said. Those results were negative as well, so the next step is to send the blood back to the lab and test for prescription drugs, which never show up in those initial drug screenings, he added.
Mallory pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, a misdemeanor, in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on Thursday. His next court date is scheduled for Oct. 4.
He wasn’t placed on any kind of administrative leave after the incident, but he doesn’t appear to still be the public information officer.