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CHP Officer Charged with DUI Had Ambien in His System

Attorney says sleep aid was in Michael Mallory’s system when he crashed into parked cars in Arroyo Grande

A Santa Maria-based California Highway Patrol officer accused of driving under the influence had a sleeping-aid drug in his system when he crashed his vehicle in Arroyo Grande two months ago, according to his attorney.

Michael Shane Mallory
Michael Shane Mallory

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, which showed signs of impairment.

Mallory’s attorney, William Aron, said Friday that his client’s blood screening – which originally came back negative for both drugs and alcohol – shows that Ambien, a sedative and popular sleep aid, was present.

“We don’t know if that’s going to be sufficient enough for the prosecution to proceed,” Aron said.

Mallory pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, a misdemeanor, in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on Sept. 6.

The new toxicology results were shared in court this week.

Mallory’s initial blood test results were negative for alcohol and the most commonly abused drugs, so his blood was sent back to screen for prescription drugs, San Luis Obispo Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran said.

Aron would not comment on why Ambien was found in Mallory’s system, but he said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the prosecution has a borderline case, at best.

“Obviously, we’re hoping for an acquittal,” Aron said. “He’s working and looking forward to moving on with life.”

Mallory wasn’t placed on any kind of administrative leave after the incident, but he is no longer the public information officer.

Mallory is scheduled to be back in court Nov. 20, when a resolution should be reached, Aron said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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