So let me get this straight. Police Chief Russ Leach was at a Super Bowl Party, left the party and crashed his car into a light pole, and Leach wants us to believe that it was caused by his prescription medication? Right. More beer is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year. I suppose that Chief Leach was drinking sodas all day, right? Exactly what kind of official business was being conducted at this Super Bowl party to make it necessary for Chief Leach to drive a city vehicle to the party? This thing stinks to high heaven. JD
Riverside Police Department Chief Russ Leach retired today amid an investigation into a crash involving a city-owned vehicle he was driving, possibly while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The Riverside City Manager’s Office released a statement this afternoon saying Leach, 61, was retiring for medical reasons, effective immediately.
Leach, who was hired in 2000, had been on medical leave since Monday.
On Tuesday, city officials said Leach was involved in a single-vehicle crash around 3 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Central and Hillside avenues.
The black Chrysler 300 apparently jumped the curb and hit a fire hydrant and light pole, destroying both tires on the vehicle’s left side, which sustained major front-end damage.
Leach drove another three miles before being pulled over by a Riverside police patrol unit, The Press-Enterprise reported.
A six-page collision report filed by the officers who conducted the traffic stop indicated that Leach had been drinking, according to the paper.
Leach told The Press-Enterprise that prescription medication he was taking contributed to the accident.
“I don’t have a full memory of this,” Leach told The Press-Enterprise. “But I take absolute full responsibility for what happened.”
Leach would not say whether he had been drinking, or disclose what medication he is taking, which is connected to a back injury and other ailments, according to the newspaper.
The California Highway Patrol was asked by Assistant Riverside Police Chief John De La Rosa to investigate Monday’s crash.
A final report is expected to be issued next week, according to CHP Lt. David Lane of the agency’s Inland Division.
Lane said a CHP accident investigation team was trying to locate witnesses and verify details of what occurred, without relying solely on information provided by the Riverside Police Department.
“We’re investigating this as we would any other collision, starting from square one,” Lane told City News Service.
“This is an independent investigation. Therefore, we’re not going to take reports from another agency
and say, ‘OK, that’s what happened.’”