Jackie Warner, Celeb Trainer, Charged With DUI, Felony Assault

By Victoria Kim 04/19/17

Ambien and a martini are reportedly the reason for the Bravo star's run-in with the law back in February. 

Jackie Warner

Celebrity fitness trainer Jacqueline Waddell—better known as Jackie Warner from Bravo’s reality TV series Work Out—is hoping her “sleep-driving” defense will pan out in court. 

TMZ reported this week that Warner was charged with felony assault on a police officer, misdemeanor DUI and misdemeanor hit and run for crashing into a pole, then backing into a police vehicle when the cops arrived. 

Police say she blew .08% at the time. Warner admitted to having one martini with lunch before the February incident

But she and her lawyer maintain that she was not conscious when she hit the pole, after blacking out from taking an Ambien after lunch. She said she came to in the hospital, under arrest.

Her lawyer Shawn Holley explained that Warner has a history with insomnia. “We have letters and reports from Jackie’s doctors which prove a long history of insomnia which strongly support our contention that Jackie was driving unconscious after taking Ambien, which had been prescribed to her.” 

Holley expressed disappointment that the DA’s office hadn’t reviewed this before filing charges. "I reached out to the DA's office weeks ago and was assured that deputies would review our reports before filing charges. We are extremely disappointed that the DA's office filed these charges without reviewing our evidence, as promised."

Back in 2006, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car in D.C., and used the same Ambien defense. This brought to light the serious risks of taking the sleep aid, and led to the FDA requiring stronger warnings on labels:

“After taking Ambien, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing,” the side effects read. “The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the night … Reported activities include: driving a car (“sleep-driving”), making and eating food, talking on the phone, having sex, sleep-walking.”

The sleep aid was approved by the FDA in 1992 for short-term treatment of insomnia. 

"Even though it's prescribed medication and it's been OK'd by their doctor to take, it's not actually good to take that medication and then get behind the wheel of a car," said Washington State Patrol Sgt. Robert Sharpe, after the Kennedy incident. "Ambien is categorized in our program as a central nervous system depressant and just the same types of effects that are encountered with alcohol."

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr