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One Accident, Many Questions

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By BVN Staff –

The California Highway Patrol is currently investigating a single-vehicle hit-and-run crash by Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach, that has led many to speculate the circumstances behind the incident.

According to a statement issued by the City, at approximately 3 a.m. , Monday, the Riverside Police Department received notification of a single vehicle collision in the vicinity of Central and Hillside Avenues.

Officers responded to investigate the situation and determined that Police Chief Leach, was involved.

Leach allegedly struck a fire hydrant and a streetlight with his city issued black Chrysler 300.

The investigation was taken over by the California Highway Patrol according to Assistant Chief John De La Rosa to be in its (RPD) best interest.

Chief Leach was placed on medical leave by the city following the incident which has many questioning the circumstances behind it.

The CHP is probing separate allegations that Leach was driving while impaired and responding officers omitted that from their initial report.

Allegedly, calls had been coming into dispatch reporting a black car driving through Orangecrest with sparks flying off of it and that it was driving on its rims. Police officers tailed it for a while before pulling it over at Arlington and Rutland, several miles from where the accident took place.

In support of the chief, Woodie Rucker-Hughes, President of the Riverside Branch of the NAACP said, "The chief of police is a good man. He has done a lot to reform the Police Department under the consent decree. I won't criticize or fall into a feeding frenzy like sharks in the water." She is in a wait and see mode to see what the investigation shows. "He may have made a mistake.

But he has always done right by the NAACP," she said. Since no one was hurt and the investigation is ongoing some want it to run its course.”

Bill Howe, retired UCR Police Chief and founding member of the Police Review Commission said he was glad no one was hurt in the reported accident. He said he didn't know what the investigation will find since it was so long after the accident.

"There will be very little to work on a day or two later, the investigation will be tough," he said. Howe cautioned we don't know the problem but if he was intoxicated he should resign. He can't be a good example for the troops," he said.

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