Michael Kessinger

An off-duty California Highway Patrol officer from the Trinity River Area was arrested in May on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of methamphetamine.

Michael Kessinger, 29 of Millville, was pulled over May 15 while driving on Hilltop Drive north of Dana Drive in Redding. The stop was made by a CHP Northern Division officer for following too closely, the CHP said.

Upon contacting the driver, the officer observed the driver to have signs of drug influence, the CHP said, and the driver was unable to perform a series of field sobriety tests.

He was arrested for driving under the influence.

“A search incident to arrest revealed the driver was in possession of a small quantity of suspected methamphetamine,” the CHP said. The amount was approximately 1 gram.

After the arrest, it was determined that Kessinger was an off-duty CHP officer from the Trinity River area. He submitted to a drug evaluation and was booked into the Shasta County Jail for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

As of last week, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office had not filed charges in the case, saying further follow up was needed.

CHP Trinity River Area Commander Lt. Ryan Ham said in addition to forwarding the case to the Shasta DA’s office, the CHP is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations.

“I want to assure the public that we take any allegation of misconduct by our employees, whether on or off duty, very seriously,” Ham said in a statement.

He added that the alleged conduct of this employee does not reflect on the values and dedication of the CHP and its more than 11,000 employees.

Kessinger joined the Trinity River Area Office in March 2018. The Journal reported that Kessinger had joined the CHP in 2014 and had previously worked in the Palm Springs area and in Santa Barbara.

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