Police are investigating whether a Rhode Island Assistant U.S. Attorney used his position to avoid a driving-under-the-influence charge, the Associated Press reports.
Two motorists on Thanksgiving morning contacted police in Warwick, R.I., about the driver of a BMW — identified as Gerard B. Sullivan — who they said was driving erratically. After Sullivan was pulled over, he allegedly informed the officers multiple times about his job. According to AP, Sullivan also told the officers he knew the police chief and asked if there was “anything he could do.” He failed a field sobriety test but was not charged with driving under the influence, according to the AP story.
Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney on Wednesday told AP that police are investigating whether Sullivan attempted to avoid being charged with a DUI after failing field sobriety tests and refusing a breathalyzer. Kevin Bristow, Sullivan’s attorney, told the AP that although the Assistant U.S. Attorney made a mistake and is embarrassed, he did not attempt to use his job to influence police.
Bristow told the AP, “Does he regret driving the vehicle? Yeah, very much so. It’s a mistake that he made, and you know, he’s paying an extraordinary price,” adding, “You can read the paper, listen to the airwaves. It could take a professional toll, and certainly it’s taking a personal toll.”
Although it is the Warwick Police Department’s policy to charge people who refuse to submit to a breathalizyer test with DUI “if the circumstances are corroborated,” Sullivan was charged only with refusing to take the breath test, The AP reports. As to the question of his attempt to influence the officers, McCartney told AP, “The fact that he did even mention my name casts questions here.”
Bristow told AP that Sullivan will not contest the charge of refusing the breathalyzer test.