California: Two Coast Guardsmen busted for DUI by California Highway Patrol

The United States Coast Guard is in the news around the clock and around the nation for its heroic acts at saving lives…they show courage, gumption and determination in facing dangers which would cower the ordinary citizen, all to save the lives of strangers….it is a sad day to report on two Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers charged with DUI, one of whom was arrested as he was on his way to work.

From KPIX 5

SAN FRANCISCO (08/31/2014) — Two Bay Area Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers are facing charges of driving under the influence. Authorities said one of the incidents involved an officer in full uniform heading to work.

Chief Petty Officer Michael Padgett was reporting for duty, when the California Highway Patrol stopped him one mile from the Coast Guard gate at Yerba Buena Island.

In his report, the officer said he smelled a strong odor of alcohol. “And I noticed his eyes were red and watery and his speech was slurred,” the officer said. “As Padgett walked, I noticed he had an unsteady gait.”

Authorities said Padgett had a blood alcohol level of 0.18 on a breath test, more than twice the legal limit.

Padgett, a command duty officer, is responsible for dispatching boats and aircraft, coordinating law enforcement, along with search and rescue operations.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said it has a strict policy on alcohol abuse. “Chief Padgett was temporarily removed from his duties as soon as the Coast Guard was made aware of this incident,” the statement read.

“I’m working, and I’m going through the criminal process and everything,” Padgett told KPIX 5.

Five days before Padgett was arrested, another Coast Guard was also arrested for driving drunk.

According to a Brentwood police report obtained by KPIX 5, Chief Petty Officer Warren Weatherford admitted he had been drinking. He measured 0.14 on the breath test.

Weatherford remains on duty managing the team responsible for navigation safety of every commercial vessel moving in the San Francisco Bay region. That includes making sure ships don’t collide with the Bay Bridge.