RIVERSIDE – The wife of Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach was arrested today on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription drugs after crashing her car into a tree.
Dr. Paige E. Zellerbach, a 50-year-old dentist, was detained following the 10:30 a.m. wreck at Orozco Drive and Overlook Parkway.
According to Riverside police Lt. Mike Cook, Zellerbach was formally arrested several hours later, after being questioned by investigators at the police department’s downtown station on Orange Street, a block from the D.A.’s office.
“She was issued a misdemeanor citation for driving under the influence of prescription medication,” Cook said. “Afterward, she was released to a family member.”
Cook would not speculate as to when the case might be submitted to the D.A.’s office — or possibly the California Attorney General’s Office — seeking formal charges.
“Our investigators will need to make sure they have everything they need,” the lieutenant said. “It could be 10 days or two weeks. I’m not sure.”
According to Cook, a patrol officer was called to the crash scene around 10:30 a.m. and ”made observations” that Zellerbach was impaired. She was detained and transported to the Orange Street station, where further investigation was conducted.
Her black BMW, which sustained “significant damage,” was “processed” by investigators before being towed to a repair facility, Cook said.
There were rain showers throughout the city at the time of the crash. The car plowed through a road divider before crashing into a tree, police said.
“No one was hurt. She was the sole occupant of the vehicle,” Cook said.
Witnesses said Zellerbach’s husband, who will be leaving office in two weeks, drove to the location and spoke with officers.
A longtime area dentist with a practice on Indiana Avenue, just off the Riverside (91) Freeway, she and her husband reside in a hillside gated community about two blocks from where the accident occurred.