A Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney last week was charged with refusing to take a chemical breath test after driving erratically, The Providence Journal reports.
Two drivers on Thanksgiving morning contacted police about the driver of a BMW — identified as Gerard B. Sullivan — who they said appeared “out of it,” and was “driving all over the road,” the newspaper said.
After Sullivan was pulled over, he informed the officers multiple times of his job, according to a police report, the newspaper said.
Sullivan also told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do,” The Providence Journal reported. Of the five people in Warwick, R.I., charged with refusing to take a breath test over the long holiday weekend, Sullivan was the only one also not charged with another offense, driving under the influence, according to the newspaper.
Warwick police chief Col. Stephen M. McCartney on Tuesday told The Providence Journal he only knows Sullivan professionally. He also told the newspaper that he was unaware of Sullivan’s arrest until The Providence Journal called him.
“But I don’t think the fact he was a public official had any bearing on the arrest the officers made,” McCartney told The Providence Journal. ”He was treated like anybody else — and had all the circumstances been there, I think they would have double-charged.”
McCartney also told the newspaper that arresting officer Russell Brown did not have enough evidence to substantiate a driving under the influence charge — a more serious offense than failing to take a breath test — even though Brown in his police report wrote that Sullivan was “coming from the tavern” and had “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.”
The police told The Providence Journal that the Assistant U.S. Attorney is scheduled to appear before the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal on Dec. 18 to face the chemical-test charge.
Thomas Connell, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, told The Providence Journal that Sullivan was on “travel status” Tuesday, adding that the state’s top federal prosecutor was aware of the charge against Sullivan.
“Warwick police are handling that and this office, in consultation with the Department of Justice, will address any administrative consequences that may result,” Connell told the newspaper.