BRENTWOOD — Fire Chief William Campbell has resigned in the wake of his arrest last October on a drunk driving charge, saying he can no longer do the job because his driver’s license has been suspended.
Selectmen announced his resignation at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
“The department and community deserve to have a fire chief that can comply with all requirements and responsibilities of the position and do so without negative perception looming over their leader,” he wrote in his resignation letter.
The 49-year-old Campbell, of Fremont, has been on leave since he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after a crash on Route 107 on Oct. 5.
According to police, Campbell crossed the center line with his truck and hit a car traveling in the opposite direction. He wasn’t hurt, but people in the car suffered minor injuries.
He is scheduled to face trial on the charge on May 16 in Brentwood Circuit Court.
In his letter, Campbell described the crash as a “very unfortunate accident while on my personal time,” and said he has “absolute confidence” that the charge will be dismissed or he will be acquitted.
Campbell’s license remains suspended following a hearing Nov. 16 at the Department of Safety Bureau of Hearings.
According to a report from the hearing examiner, Campbell told police at the scene that he was returning from a funeral and denied drinking any alcohol.
Fremont police reported that Campbell’s eyes were bloodshot and glossy and that he smelled of alcohol, but he refused a field sobriety test and later declined a blood alcohol test after he was arrested.
He allegedly refused the blood alcohol test again after arriving at the Rockingham County jail.
To serve as chief, Campbell is required to have a current and valid driver’s license.
“Along with the inability to meet the driver’s license requirements for the position of fire chief at this time, there is an unfortunate public perception of the actual circumstances which I am currently involved in. A perception that I cannot in good conscience continue to allow the town of Brentwood and Brentwood Fire Department to continue to burden,” Campbell wrote in his letter.
Town Administrator Karen Clement said the resignation is effective immediately.
Campbell is also a lieutenant with the Nashua Fire Department and recently returned to that job after he was placed on paid leave immediately after the crash. The Nashua chief has said Campbell is not required to drive as part of that position.
Brentwood Deputy Fire Chief Joe Bird was named acting chief after Campbell was placed on leave.
Clement said selectmen have not made any decisions on finding a replacement.
Campbell’s letter said he was honored to serve as Brentwood chief.
“I am proud of the many accomplishments your fire department has experienced over the last roughly two years,” he wrote.