Undersheriff arrested for DUI, but not jailed

June 6, 2010


Atascadero Police arrested San Luis Obispo Undersheriff Steve Bolts for driving under the influence on El Camino Real near Del Rio Road on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., according to the police log.

Bolts, 56, was booked at the Atascadero Police Department and then released with a citation. There were five driving under the influence and drunk in public arrests made on Friday and Saturday in Atascadero. Except for Bolts, all other arrestees were transported to San Luis Obispo County Jail, according to the police log.

In Atascadero, police either book and release or transport drunk drivers to jail, according to the police log.

Officers secured Bolts’ Ford truck and left it at the scene.

In 2004, Sheriff Pat Hedges created the second-in-command undersheriff position as part of a restructuring that put a buffer between the sheriff and his staff. Bolts said he plans to step down when a new sheriff takes over at the end of year.

According to sheriff insiders, Bolts has been running the department for Hedges.

“Hedges is gone most of the time and has Bolts do his work in his absence,” said one sheriff’s department employee who asked to remain anonymous.

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Hummmm, “Senior Officer Matt Chesson and the night’s watch commander, Sgt. Robert Molle, responded to an anonymous call”

Officer Chesson, that name kept bothering me this morning, it was way in the back of my mind someplace but now I know why it bothered me. He is the officer that didn’t arrest the criminals that he encountered in Atascadero with Lisa Solomon’s stolen gun!

He may be the same officer but, I assure you, he was instructed by his Sergeant and Chief Mulhall what he could and could not do in both situations. This guy has to put food on the table and you can’t buck Mulhall without committing careericide. Remember the article about the Chief talking loudly on the phone and getting their story’s straight and telling the person on the other end (Solomon) not to worry about “Gerry” (Shea) ?.

Oh My, I was reading the updates this morning and the following just slapped me right in the face.

“Officers arrested the undersheriff after he failed a field sobriety test to determine dexterity and coordination, Mulhall said, as well as a preliminary alcohol-screening device one breathes into but is different than a Breathalyzer.”

“After Bolts’ arrest and subsequent trip to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton for a blood test, he was released Saturday night from department headquarters on a citation requiring a promise to appear in court.”

The key words here are – ” a preliminary alcohol-screening device one breathes into but is different than a Breathalyzer.”

It is my understanding that when a citizen fails the “field sobriety test to determine dexterity and coordination”, they are then offered either a “breathalyzer” or a blood test. They can not take a “breathalyzer” and then decide that they don’t like the result and ask for a blood test. I have never heard of this device that Mulhall describes as a, “screening device one breathes into but is different than a Breathalyzer.” I contacted a person who recently was arrested for DUI and inquired, they had no idea what I was talking about and they were never offered to check and to what they might be “blowing” before they decided what to do.

The concern here is that the more time that passes between an arrest and a BAC test the more time the person is afforded to allow the BAC to drop. I would be interested in the time sequence between when Bolts took this (unknown and generally not offered to the general public) test that is “different than a Breathalyzer”, and the time that lapsed before he was blood tested at Twin Cities Hospital.

Maybe this is something new? Does anyone know anything about this device that is not a Breathalyzer but measures the BAC in your breath and allows a suspect a choice, where a choice, otherwise would not have been legally afforded the suspect?


The field “breathalyzer” is exactly that, a tool in the field to help make the proper decision. The breathalyzer that is used at either the police station or booking facility is a much more sophisticated piece of equipment that is monitored and calibrated on a scheduled basis.

Regarding the time frame from arrest to test it works both ways. After the last drink it normally takes close to 1 hour for the body to absorb the alcohol which would then indicate what the highest BA would be and contrary the opposite would be true in regards to obtaining a low number. The body composition of the person is also a factor. During the interview an attempt is made to determine when the last drink was taken. All of these factors usually come out during a court hearing.

The breathalyzer or blood test is not the only indicator used to determine whether someone is to be arrested for DUI. It normally starts with erratic driving, an interview, observation of the person, a field sobriety test and then if an arrest is made a blood or breathalyzer test is administered. There is always the possibility of a low breathalyzer test reading when drugs may be involved.

Yes, I agree with you. I received a phone call from someone who is very knowledgeable and they told me the same thing. I guess the field sobriety gadget is standard and has been around for a while, it is used as the final test just before an arrest is made. I never heard of that and I have to remember that the person I asked about it was drunk at the time so they probably received that test and they don’t remember. I agree that Bolts was treated exactly like any other citizen.

Now that is interesting. I wonder if he tried to “fool” the breathalyzer test with any of those common myths that circulate. Do you know anything more about this new device, ie, how it measures BAC? Let me know if you hear more. I’ve heard most breathalyzers measure breath, and get messed up by mouth alcohol, so maybe this one focuses specifically on mouth alcohol.


While I remain a supporter of Jerry Lenthall, I encourage each of you to vote today regardless of your candidte of choice. It is so critically important to clean up the Sheriff’s Department and several have the skills. Best of luck to each candidate and may the citizens of San Luis Obispo County win.

Well said Ssc, we have all done our part to promote the men that we believe are best suited to fill the positions that we will be voting for today. Tomorrow many of us might find that we are now in agreement, where we previously might not have been, as we will move towards a run off. With that said I am going to wholeheartedly reiterate your last words.

“Best of luck to each candidate and may the citizens of San Luis Obispo County win.”

BTW, I’ll be voting for CORTEZ, I believe he is the best man for the job, he is well rounded, well educated and experienced beyond any other candidate running for Sheriff. He is and not a hand shaking Good Ole Boy, never was and never will be and that is a very important aspect of this race.

KSBY is reporting that Bolts was released to none other than PAT HEDGES. Ya got scooped CCN!

“In 2004, Sheriff Pat Hedges created the second-in-command undersheriff position as part of a restructuring that put a buffer between the sheriff and his staff. Bolts said he plans to step down when a new sheriff takes over at the end of year.”

So Bolts plans to step down does he, duh!!! Bolts can’t find his nuts,…Or Bolts is nuts,if he thinks he can walk away from this one. He ought to be stepping out of jail at the end of the year, if you guys and girls, think for one minute this is the first time this officer has done this, and just happened to get caught this one time. You must also believe that Homer Simpson is a real live person.

$780,000 to drive around drunk everyday! What a life these guy’s have! And was he armed and drunk at the time of his arrest, I would imagine so, what if he had a collision and then popped a cap in the oncoming car’s driver, free ride home then too?

Seriously was he armed with a 14 shot double stack forty-five caliber pistol, while driving drunk? This is not in the book on how to protect and serve!

“An officer and police sergeant responded to an anonymous call at 8:23 p.m. Saturday alleging Bolts, 56, was driving north on Falda Road while intoxicated, Mulhall said.Preliminary investigations show that Bolts’ blood alcohol content was above the legal driving limit, a prior to this there were two small children in the car? Raises an eyebrow because the tipster was correct that he was drunk, so that would likely make him correct that there were two small children driving with Bolts moments prior to his arrest, that’s a whole new charge, child endangerment, another question of mind is how many times in the past has he got away with this and was he armed at the time of his arrest, seems he would have been. I wonder how much payed leave and probation he will get. Shame on you Bolts.

“The anonymous caller also said Bolts had “two small children” in the vehicle with him, Mulhall said, but the responding officer determined Bolts was alone at the time of contact.” Like I said, another charge, jee, think internal affairs will look into it boss? And from the photo with the bac. evidence he looks hammered. My hat is off to the “good A-town cop” who arrested him and then had his touch down pass stripped away.

“Seriously was he armed with a 14 shot double stack forty-five caliber pistol, while driving drunk?”

Cheese, Bolts was off duty and attending a party for his kids. He was driving his own truck. I don’t think he had his big gun on him but one never knows.

Cheeseburger: You seem like an experienced officer and hinted at something I had heard before from a detective “We never catch them the first time they commit a crime.” Alcohol, truck, guns and kids, great recipe for a disaster.

Experienced enough to know who ripped me off and this county off. I wish I saw this coming, like John Linderman from Los Osos, sheriffs kind of messed that one up, to put it very lightly, then John, my friend and mind you a school teacher, has been, beat up by the sheriffs and looses in Federal Court. The whole fiasco pending from the sheriffs trespassing on John Linderman’s property,,,,,!!!!

Sorry, you kind of lost me. I’m not sure what you mean.

This post really belongs down the page to a post by SaveSloCounty. She say’s : “I can’t even imagine how to justify returning a drug-smuggling cop back to a job of trust. The two in SLO got off lightly through the court system but Linden cannot possible keep them employed and maintain a shred of confidence in her or the police department.”

There is a group who plans to attend the SLO CC meeting to address the above concerned subject during public comment on June 8th. Because tomorrow is election day and some people will be involved in other activities it has been suggested that we push this off until the June 22nd meeting. I know there are also people who plan to address the problem with the taxi cab monopoly. If people would like to wait two weeks on this you will see some of us there at the podium then.

Right on Cindy, I know there are many here who would like to know why we are spending a fortune keeping these cops in beer and chips while on leave for a couple of felonies. Parkinson said on the air a few weeks ago that the feds have note yet given them any info to proceed on. That sounds rather incredible to me. If any of us had been busted at the border we would have been doing time within a month-and no time off with pay!

This was discussed among a group yesterday after Church. Some will write letters and we have asked two to speak. I’ll let them know about this latest post, as of now, they plan to speak at the SLO City Council tomorrow.

Great job MarkJames. The elected representatives need to know that the majority of the community is sick about several of the current actions and lack of decisiveness by our law enforcement leaders.

Cindy.. I think the next meeting i actually June 15th.

Chief Mulhall confirmed that Sheriff Hedges picked up Bolts from the station. I guess that really shouldn’t be a surprise.