Head of Anti-DUI Unit Accused of Driving Under the Influence in California

Thomas Newell was charged with suspicion of driving under the influence in Northern California following a tip from another motorist. Newell was observed driving recklessly in his Mercedes-Benz by an off-duty firefighter. Responding California Highway Patrol officers suspected the influence of drugs and booked the defendant at the Sonoma County jail.

Newell, 53, is the supervisor in the Department of Health Services of the Sonoma County drug and alcohol services division. The program targets drunk driving offenders by offering addiction rehabilitation.

A blood sample was drawn though the results of toxicology tests will not be known for several weeks. Newell reportedly said he was taking pain killers for chronic pain from five knee surgeries and a hip replacement. A spokesperson said Newell is on leave from work, and made no further comments.

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