Gary Campbell 

Pima County Sheriff's Department

A Tucson father who is suspected of taking his 4-year-old to a drug buy instead of preschool led deputies on a low-speed chase before being arrested Thursday, an official said.

Gary Campbell, 35, was supposed to drop off his daughter off at preschool. When the girl did not show up at school by about 12:45 p.m., the child’s mother called Campbell to find out where they were, said Deputy Tracy Suitt, spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

“Campbell told her he bought some drugs and the child was with him,” Suitt said.

Deputies tried to call Campbell on his cellphone, but he did not answer. The deputies began searching for him, and just after 3 p.m. they saw his vehicle near West Orange Grove Road and North La Cholla Boulevard.

The deputies tried to stop Campbell, but he would not pull over. Instead, he led deputies on a 20-mph chase with his daughter in the vehicle.

At La Cholla and West Hospital Drive, deputies spread tire-deflating spike strips across the road to stop Campbell, but he drove over them and a second set of spikes and continued trying to evade deputies on four flat tires at 10 mph, Suitt said.

Deputies surrounded Campbell with their vehicles in an attempt to make him stop. Instead, he rammed two patrol cars and continued driving. Deputies finally forced his vehicle off the road at North Shannon Road and West Giaconda Place, Suitt said.

Because Campbell would not get out of the car after being forced off the road, deputies had to break the driver’s-side window to open the door. In the process, Campbell received cuts on his face from glass shards, Suitt said.

The 4-year-old was unharmed. There was a child car seat in the vehicle, but Suitt did not know if the girl was buckled into it during the pursuit.

Campbell was booked into the Pima County jail and faces one count each of endangerment, aggravated DUI with a child, aggravated DUI with a suspended license, criminal damage, unlawful flight, DUI child abuse, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a dangerous drug, and two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at or 573-4191.