Two martinis too many — fire board candidate was arrested for DUI

Daily Post Staff Writer

A candidate for the Menlo Park Fire Protection District Board was arrested in 2016 for a DUI, a prosecutor said yesterday.

When asked about the DUI yesterday, candidate Sean Ballard said that it was a “one-time mistake” that will “never be repeated.”

Ballard, a Menlo Park resident who is managing partner of an investment firm, added that he is in the process of expunging the DUI from court records.

According to the Post’s police blotter from the time, Ballard was pulled over near his home at Timothy Lane and Bay Road at 1:16 a.m. on Jan. 8, 2016, and was released to First Chance in Burlingame, a program that offers a 24-hour station to sober up.

Ballard blew a .14% blood alcohol level on a Breathalyzer about an hour after being arrested, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. The legal limit is 0.08%.

Ballard told police that he had two martinis after he had been pulled over for swerving, Wagstaffe said.

Ballard pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI and was sentenced to three years probation. Ballard also said that his driver’s license was briefly suspended.

“I paid my fines, served a brief suspension of my driver’s license and fulfilled an uneventful three-year probation exactly as ordered by the judge,” Ballard said in a statement to the Post yesterday.

Ballard, 43, of Menlo Park, is one of two challengers running against incumbents Virginia Chang Kiraly and Rob Silano on the board that oversees the fire district which serves Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Atherton, North Fair Oaks and west Menlo Park.

Ballard and former board member Peter Carpenter on a slate against the two incumbents. Ballard and Carpenter contend the current board micromanages Chief Harold Schapelhouman.

Ballard is involved with the district’s Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, and sits on the district’s finance committee. He previously ran for a seat on the board in 2018. He is a managing partner at investment firm Eigenvector Capital. He grew up in Menlo Park and moved back to town in 2014.


  1. This is blown out of proportion. Yes, his BAC was .14%. Yes, that’s technically against the law. But he didn’t hit anybody, right? I like it when a guy can have a few drinks and navigate our streets safely. The police pull people over for DUI because they want to bring in more money. That shouldn’t make somebody a “criminal”! Sean’s critics are too judgmental if you ask me. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!!!

    • Are you insane? Is this a joke? Drunk driving kills 10,000 people a year. It’s not a laughing matter!!! Hopefully Ballard has learned his lesson and stopped drinking, tho I think a DUI disqualifies anyone from heading a public safety agency.

    • Spot on Anon- Terry Berg needs a huge reality check on the horror and pain caused by DUI drivers. The way Terry Berg sees it Ballard is the victim and the police (who thank God were there to prevent him from serious injury or death to himself and/or innocent others, are the villains!?). Seriously, Terrt Berg’s comment is shameful. By the way, Ballard’s .14 BAC is almost double the legal limit.

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