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DUI charges filed against supervisor

The California Attorney General filed charges of driving under the influence against San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti on Wednesday, more than five months after he was involved in a non-injury, three-car accident on Interstate5. 

Patti, whose district includes and Lathrop and Manteca north of Yosemite Avenue, was charged with “driving under the influence of a drug” after a responding California Highway Patrol officer observed “signs and symptoms of intoxication” after responding to the accident. 

According to the CHP, Patti was driving a 2015 Chevy Tahoe on Wednesday, July 25 when he struck the back of a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and forced it into the 2011 Toyota Prius that was traveling in front of it. The supervisor was traveling northbound on I-5 just south of Lathrop when the accident occurred. 

Patti was initially charged with driving under the influence – taken into custody and held at the San Joaquin County Jail for several hours before being released. The case was forwarded to the California Attorney General for review because of his position within the San Joaquin County government hierarchy. As a supervisor, Patti belongs to the body that controls the budget for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office. 

In a statement that was released when news of the arrest broke back in July, Patti noted that he “provided a roadside sobriety test that confirmed no alcohol was present” and also submitted to a blood test that he believed “will show no illegal drugs were in my system.” Patti blamed the incident on a reaction to prescribed medication for several major surgeries that he had recently had – spinal surgery that was necessary after he struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian – and offered an apology to his constituents and those close to him.

“I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and constituents,” Patti said in his statement at the time. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that this never happens again. 

“I would like to personally thank the representatives of the California Highway Patrol and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office for their professionalism.”

But according to reporting from the Stockton Record, the California Attorney General’s office is also alleging “an enhancement for refusal to take a chemical test” – which is at odds with his statement about giving blood that he said would show that no illegal drugs were in his system at the time of the arrest. 

Elected in 2016, Patti has been extremely active in his role as a supervisor – a regular attendee at community functions across his district – and took a very hands-on approach with the City of Lathrop when the possibility of entering into a contract with the City of Tracy for policing services was on the table. Initially appearing with then-Sheriff Steve Moore, Patti then backed the proposal by then Sherriff-elect Pat Withrow that would allow the City of Lathrop to take small steps towards building its own police department while maintaining the longstanding contract with the county. 

He is scheduled to appear before Judge Richard Vlavianos on Jan. 28 at the San Joaquin County courthouse for arraignment. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.