Stygar moves for evidence to be tossed in DUI

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comDecember 1, 2012 

The drunken driving trial of a Police Department administrator has been pushed back to next year as he decided to pursue getting the evidence thrown out just before he was supposed to have his day in court this month.

Cmdr. Chester "Chet" Stygar was scheduled to face two misdemeanor counts of drunken driving in Stanislaus County Superior Court Nov. 13. The date was moved to April 16 after a Nov. 7 motion to suppress evidence was continued until February.

"There was the holidays, and the judge's calendar was booked. It's a pretty common occurrence," said Kirk McAllister, who is representing Stygar.

McAllister, a Modesto-based attorney, said his motion stems from what he believes was his client being pulled over unlawfully.

"Basically, there wasn't sufficient cause for the stop," he said.

Last year, citing pending charges, CHP spokesman Eric Parsons declined to tell the Enterprise what initiated the stop.

Stygar was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on Sept. 23, 2011. California Highway Patrol officers from the Modesto office pulled Stygar over at the intersection of Main Street and Golden State Boulevard in Turlock at 2:23 a.m. Stygar's blood alcohol level was 0.11, according to court documents. The legal limit is 0.08.

Stygar, who has remained on the job since his arrest, is one of two department commanders. Chief Gary Brizzee is the highest ranking officer.

An internal affairs investigation into Stygar's behavior is being conducted. Brizzee declined to state whether the inquiry will be completed before the trial.

"It's an ongoing personnel matter," he said.

Brizzee, who is also the Los Banos interim city manager, echoed a statement he made in August about the incident being unhelpful.

"Anytime our officers are involved in an issue like this, it's a distraction," Brizzee said

Stygar, 42, was promoted to commander in 2010. He began working in Los Banos in 1994 and has held numerous positions, including patrol officer, patrol sergeant, investigative sergeant and administrative sergeant and jail supervisor.

Stygar is a native of Modesto.

Enterprise staff writer Corey Pride can be reached at 388-6563 or cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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