'Hammered Drunk' Police Chief Shown Failing Sobriety Test Not Yet Charged

The police chief of a St. Louis suburb was given a hug, a ride home and no drunk driving charges after he couldn't recite the alphabet or walk a straight line during a roadside sobriety check.

Police body camera video published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wednesday captured Hazelwood police Chief Gregg Hall failing drunk driving tests before another law enforcement official intervened. The footage is the latest to raise questions about police conduct since the use of body cameras by law enforcement has become increasingly common.

The footage, obtained by the paper through a public records request, showed how the incident unfolded in the early morning of May 28 after an officer pulled Hall over for swerving through traffic in his truck, according to the Post-Dispatch.

In the video, Hall tells O'Fallon police Officer Nathan Dye that he had been watching a hockey game and was swerving because he was eating food from White Castle. Hall also mentioned he was the police chief of Hazelwood and nine months away from retirement.

The video showed the unidentified officer performing a sobriety check on Hall, who had difficulty reciting the letters of the alphabet from D through N.

Police Car
Police body camera video published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wednesday captured Hazelwood police Chief Gregg Hall failing roadside sobriety tests. Above, a police car with the 'To Serve and Protect' motto on its side is shown in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Getty Images

Hall blew into a breathalyzer and Dye's unidentified supervising sergeant arrived on the scene afterward, the paper reported. Dye told his sergeant that the breathalyzer indicated Hall had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal driving limit of 0.08.

"The chief of Hazelwood is hammered drunk right now," Dye told his sergeant in the video, adding, "he was dodging sniper fire out there, weaving all over the place."

The sergeant asked Dye if the interaction has been recorded on his body cam and vehicle dashboard camera. After Dye told him it had been recorded, the video showed the sergeant instructing him to administer an eye test on Hall and ask him to walk a straight line.

Hall was unable to do either and suggested calling John Neske, the then-police chief of O'Fallon.

"I don't know what to do," Hall said.

"I'm liable. This is all on camera," Dye said in the video. "How does it look if I don't do my job? I'm going to be honest, sir, this is a really bad position you're putting me in."

The sergeant told Dye in the video that he had put in a courtesy call to Neske, who he said lives nearby, and asked if anyone else knew about the incident. The video then cut out.

Another video obtained by the Post-Dispatch showed Neske arrive and embrace Hall. He asked the sergeant if he was going to have any issues if he took Hall home. The sergeant says he wouldn't.

"He and I are going to have a long talk on the way home," Neske told the officers.

The St. Charles County prosecutor's office has not filed charges against Hall, reported the Post-Dispatch. Hall declined comment to the paper, referring questions to his lawyer Travis Noble Jr., who told the paper that the sobriety tests of Hall were inaccurate.

Newsweek reached out to Hazelwood police and the St. Charles County prosecutor's office for comment.