When Bloomfield police pulled legislative candidate Bobby Gibson over on Cottage Grove Road at 1:30 a.m. Nov. 16, he was driving with his headlights off and had a blood alcohol content nearly twice the legal limit, according to the police report.
According to the report, Gibson, the endorsed Democratic candidate for the vacant 15th District House seat, smelled of alcohol and also had an open bottle of wine jammed between the seats. The faint smell of burnt marijuana was also present inside the car, according to the report.
No marijuana was found in Gibson’s car.
Police Officer Michael DiManno wrote that Gibson told him the vehicle was having electrical problems and that he noticed that the headlight switch was turned to the off position. When DiManno turned the switch to the on position, the headlights worked.
Gibson, 50, and a 7th-grade science teacher at Carmen Arace Middle School, had previously issued an apology for the drunken driving arrest, saying that he had consumed some wine at a holiday party and was pulled over for a malfunctioning headlight.
According to the police report, Gibson’s blood alcohol content was .1461 when it was tested about an hour after his arrest. A subsequent test administered a half hour later showed Gibson’s blood alcohol content to be .1356.
Gibson disputed several points in the police report, saying he has not and does not smoke marijuana, and that he had an electrical problem with his head lights. He also said that it was legal to bring a wine bottle home from a restaurant and that he wasn’t aware that it need to be corked.
As for his blood-alcohol content, Gibson said, “I had wine; I had maybe two glasses.”
Bloomfield Public Schools spokesman Stan Simpson said, “Bloomfield Public Schools is aware of the situation involving Mr. Gibson and the Bloomfield Police Department — and understand that it occurred outside of school hours and school grounds. As this is a legal matter, we respectfully decline further comment.”
Gibson is facing petitioning candidate Joe Suggs in a special election for the seat that became open when David Baram was elected as judge of the 3rd District Probate Court. The election is Tuesday.
Bloomfield Town Committee Chairman Donald Harris said Wednesday that he did not know the details of the police report but was still planning to vote for Gibson, a former student of his at Bloomfield High School.
“I’m still going to vote for Bobby because this is the only mistake he’s made and he won’t make it again,” Harris said.
Harris said he believed it was too late for Gibson to step down from the race and that he should “play it out.”
“The people are going to speak one way or the other,” Harris said.