The elder of the two Dhaliwal brothers involved in the 2007 tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving charges in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning.
Kulbir Dhaliwal, 25, and his brother, Amritpal Dhaliwal, 21, were arrested early the morning of Aug. 5 in San Mateo after an officer allegedly found an open bottle of vodka in their car during a traffic stop.
Kulbir Dhaliwal was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and resisting arrest, and was released on his own recognizance after promising to appear in court today.
At today’s hearing, he was referred to the county’s private defender program and a pretrial conference was scheduled for Nov. 10, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Amritpal Dhaliwal, who was arrested for giving a fake name to the officer who pulled them over, pleaded no contest to the charge in early August and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He has since served that time and been released, Wagstaffe said.
A San Mateo police officer pulled the brothers over on U.S. Highway 101 near Peninsula Avenue at about 1:45 a.m. on Aug. 5 after seeing their car swerving onto the road’s shoulder, Assistant District Attorney Pitt said.
The officer smelled marijuana and spotted an open bottle of Grey Goose vodka in the car, Wagstaffe said.
Kulbir Dhaliwal was given a breath test and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, Wagstaffe said.
Meanwhile, Amritpal Dhaliwal, when asked for his identification, gave the name Tarlock Dhaliwal, Wagstaffe said.
The officer eventually learned the brothers’ true identities and discovered that Amritpal Dhaliwal was on parole.
The brothers made headlines after they survived a tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo on Dec. 25, 2007. The tiger, which escaped from its enclosure, killed their friend, Carlos Sousa Jr., and injured the brothers before being shot dead by police.
Kulbir Dhaliwal remains out of custody on his own recognizance.