“A 911 came into our dispatch center and said that a police car was driving erratically in the parking lot,” Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said, per the outlet. “The police car was described as running over curbs and striking a tree, disabling the police car.”
While it was initially thought he had a heart attack, Dinnell’s fellow officers realized what happened after finding out he had just interacted with a suspect who had drugs. He was given Narcan because they thought the meth he came into contact with might have contained fentanyl. They later found drugs in the car, which did in fact test positive for meth and fentanyl. An investigation was launched when they knew Dinnell would survive the deadly opioid.
The 19-year veteran confessed to taking the drugs from a woman, telling her he’d let her go if she gave him the narcotics. However, he logged the incident as “unfounded” and took the drugs with him.
“I anticipate that Sgt. Dinnell will be hopefully turning himself in and that he will be booked into the Fresno County Jail,” Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp said. “He’ll be treated like any other criminal suspect.”
His wife—who also worked at the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office—said that she discovered meth in Dinnell’s clothes last year.
“They’re still human beings and in this case, it may be a situation where he actually has a dependency on a drug,” Balderrama said.
Dinnell is set to be in court on May 5.