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Former Pittsburgh police officer waives hearing on drunken-driving charges

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 11:36 a.m.

A former Pittsburgh police officer accused of driving to work drunk waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Vernon Gibson, 38, of Mt. Washington has a formal arraignment on drunken-driving charges scheduled for May 1. He did not comment at the brief hearing at Pittsburgh Municipal Court.

“He's devastated,” his attorney, Timothy Tomasic, said. “He has the utmost respect for Pittsburgh police.”

According to a criminal complaint, Sgt. Sean Duffy saw Gibson drive into the parking lot at the City Courts Building on First Avenue on Dec. 6. Duffy wrote that Gibson had “bloodshot, glassy and watery” eyes and smelled of alcohol.

Breath tests revealed that Gibson had a blood alcohol level of 0.128 percent. Under state law, a person is drunk if his or her blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or higher.

The police bureau terminated Gibson in January, public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said. He was hired by police in 2007.

In 2011, police charged Gibson with one count of insurance fraud. Erie Insurance accused him of lying about how his 2011 Kia was damaged.

A day after an insurance inspector disputed Gibson's claim that his vehicle was damaged in a Nov. 6, 2011, hit-and-run, he admitted to investigators that he struck a wall while parking and failed to report it because he was embarrassed, according to a complaint filed in connection with the charges.

A judge in July 2012 sentenced Gibson to 200 hours of community service and $1,662 in fines and court costs under a program that allows first-time offenders to have the offense expunged from their record.

Gibson was moved from the North Side station to the Warrant Office, Downtown, after he was charged.

Margaret Harding is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or




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