Thursday, February 11, 2010

Think cops dont get special treatment....think again

Riverside police recommended no action in its report of Chief Russ Leach's 3 a.m. hit-and-run crash, despite indicating he "had been drinking," he couldn't recall where he had crashed and that he was unaware of the extent of his car's damage.

In the six-page traffic collision report, obtained Thursday by The Press-Enterprise, officers make no mention of attempting to give the chief a field sobriety test after they found him driving on the rims of his dented, scratched city-issued black Chrysler 300.

The report was issued by Riverside police the morning of the collision. On Tuesday police handed the investigation over to the California Highway Patrol.

Leach "was unable to provide a statement" regarding his wreck Monday at Central and Hillside avenues, according to the report by Riverside police Sgt. Frank Orta. Two officers had stopped him more than three miles away, later learning he ran into a fire hydrant and light pole.

The chief "would only say that he had a flat tire and that he had driven into a field or dirt road," Orta wrote. The chief repeated that several times.

"It was evident that he was unaware that he had a collision and that his vehicle suffered major damages," Orta wrote.

In the portion of the report where officers can address a driver's sobriety, they checked a box labeled "HBD -- Impairment Unknown." HBD stands for "had been drinking."

Other options include "had not been drinking," "impairment not known" and "not applicable."

Despite a witness reporting that Leach's car left the scene of the initial collision, officers did not check hit-and-run on the report, and ultimately, listed "file" as their recommendation for disposition.

Standard practice in cases to be submitted for possible charges is to indicate the report will be forwarded to the district attorney's office.

Leach, 61, remains on medical leave. He has said he was disoriented on prescription medication at the time.

More on the report's release later.

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