County tourism director files complaint of being drugged

The county’s tourism director, accused of battery on a police officer, has filed a complaint with the Vero Beach Police Department saying she was drugged in a local bar while out with friends prior to a 3 a.m. Dec. 22 incident at IHOP on U.S. 1 that landed her in jail.

Vero Police Capt. Matt Monaco had told Vero Beach 32963 on Jan. 27 that 40-year-old Allison McNeal had not filed a complaint with his agency, but three days later revised that statement. “I just found out that McNeal did file a report with us on the 23rd. The report was delayed showing up in our system,” Monaco said in an email on Jan. 30.

Details of the complaint, such as which drug was used and the name of the bar, are not yet available. “We are unable to release the report at this time since it is an active investigation,” Monaco said.

McNeal’s defense attorney Bobby Guttridge says his client was the victim of a serious crime while out with friends, which led to her run-in with the police and arrest. “We do have test results showing an illegal drug in her system that she did not take,” Guttridge said.

When asked why McNeal delayed filing the drink-spiking complaint for more than a month, Guttridge said, “There are a lot of reasons why you wait. You’re making an accusation, and you really don’t know exactly what happened.”

Guttridge said he would not release his copy of the police report, or the drug test results, even though revealing those details might lend more credence to McNeal’s defense.

“The complaint is being investigated. We wouldn’t want to do anything to compromise that investigation,” Guttridge said.

McNeal for the past nine years served as tourism director for the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, where she was reportedly suspended after her arrest and release from jail on bond.

Police were called to the IHOP by a restaurant employee in response to a disturbance and McNeal was removed from the building and warned not to go back. After struggling with police in the IHOP parking lot, McNeal was charged with battery on Vero Beach Police Officer Kassandra Ayala, plus resisting arrest with violence and trespassing.

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