Body cam released: Fairfield police officer resigned after arrest for drunk driving, hit-and-run

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A Fairfield police officer was arrested for fleeing the scene of a car crash and driving while drunk in 2021, according to newly released internal police department records obtained through a public records request.

Officer Brian Chapman also falsely told a California Highway Patrol officer that his vehicle had been stolen prior to the crash, according to the records. Chapman resigned from the department before he could be interviewed by internal affairs investigators.

Months after he resigned, Chapman was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. He pleaded no contest to the reckless driving charge in January and was sentenced to a year of probation, court records show.

According to the CHP report, the crash was reported at 10:12 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2021. Chapman’s Dodge Ram Pickup was found crashed into a mailbox on Midway Road near Paddon Road on the northern edge of Vacaville. Chapman ran into a neighbor’s driveway, where the neighbor confronted him, but Chapman kept running, hopped a fence and escd through the neighbor’s yard.

Chapman then called 911 and reported his truck had been stolen nearby at Judy’s Wild Wrangler Saloon. Sheriff’s deputies contacted Chapman and brought him back to the bar, and CHP Officer Michael Barday also arrived there, according to his report.

Chapman told Barday and the sheriff’s deputies that he had pulled into Judy's parking lot but was jumped when he got out of his truck. He denied that he had been in a crash. Barday wrote that Champan’s eyes were watery, and he smelled like alcohol. Chapman said he drank three shots of Jameson and four beers at the Brass Tap before he drove to Judy’s.

But the neighbor who had confronted the man who ran from the crash scene identified him as Chapman. Barday recommended that Chapman be prosecuted for DUI and hit-and-run.

The department started an internal affairs investigation for violating policies related to criminal, dishonest or disgraceful conduct. Chapman was scheduled to be interviewed on March 11, 2022, but prior to his interview, his attorney Doug Foley called Fairfield police Sgt. John Divine to say that Chapman would resign rather than attend the interview.

Chapman was not charged in the case until Aug. 17, when the Solano County District Attorney’s Office filed charges of misdemeanor DUI and reckless driving. The DUI counts were dismissed when Chapman pleaded guilty on Jan. 11 of this year and was sentenced to one year of probation, according to court records.

Chapman joined Fairfield police in 2021. He graduated from Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville in 2015 and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. His father is a correctional officer and his brother, Dennis Chapman, is also an officer with Fairfield police, according to the department.

It wasn’t the only recent incident involving a Fairfield police officer’s arrest for DUI. In 2019, Fairfield Lt. Kevin Carella was charged with two felonies for a crash that seriously injured the driver of a commercial van, according to the Daily Republic. Carella left the department later that year. He pleaded no contest to DUI causing great bodily injury in 2021 and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation, according to court records.

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