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Former Riverside police chief was drinking at strip club before accident, club lawyer says

Leach Just hours before crashing his city-owned vehicle into a light pole and fire hydrant last week, former Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach had been drinking at a strip club in Colton, according to a lawyer for the club and surveillance video.

Leach went into the topless Club 215 in Colton at 10:24 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday and drank four Scotches, ate some chicken wings and left at 1:48 a.m., said attorney Roger Jon Diamond, who represents the club.

“He was very dignified and behaved himself,” Diamond said. “He was eating and drinking by himself, but he did interact with other people.”

Diamond would not say whether the other people included any strippers.

“When he drove off, he did not appear to be driving erratically,” he said.

The club turned over the video to the California Highway Patrol, which is investigating the crash that occurred about 3 a.m. in Riverside. Police responding to the scene described Leach as confused and noted he had been drinking. They did not say whether they administered any field sobriety tests.

Leach, 61, resigned last week, and the city has launched an investigation into whether the police responded appropriately. The former chief said he was on prescription pain medications and was “disoriented” after the accident.

According to Diamond, Leach paid two bar tabs. The first was $30 with a $10 tip and the second was $22 with a $20 tip.

The CHP hopes to have the investigation finished within a week.

-- David Kelly

Photo: Former Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (30)

Nightmare of a lonely man.

Hey Big Spender!!!

"...crashing his... vehicle into a light pole and fire hydrant..."

"...he was on prescription pain medications... "


Tiger Woods wanna-be.

Okay, so the guy was mixing alcohol and drugs. The cops that covered this up needs to be fired.

I have to wonder if the DUI laws will be equally applied to this Four Star (police chief) police officer as it is to the rest of us.

Part of me says, police officers should have a few perqs like if they get pulled over and the officer doubts their ability to drive safely, allow the officer to call someone to pick him up. They deal with alot of stress and I think we all forget that they are human. They should be allowed to make mistakes like the rest of us. ON THE OTHER HAND, cops know better. They see the aftermath of horrific accidents caused by drunk and/or impaired drivers and it shocks me that they don't have the brains the get a taxi after drinking. And as the Chief of Police he definitely should be held to higher standard. Its a shame that it has to be such a media circus though. The man made a mistake, he retired, let him be.

"when he drove off it did not appear that he had a fire hydrant under his car"

No special treatment for cops who break the law. Period. Of all drivers on the road he should know better. I hope he gets the maximum sentence. Drunk driving is against the law. It's the same as if he raped someone or robbed a bank. Just lucky nobody was killed due to this loser's bad decisions.

I knew he was lying when this story first came out. I knew he was a lier all along claiming he was just under the influence of some prescription medication. What a lier. He was drunk on alcohol all along.

I don't think drinking at a strip club is illegal...However, driving under the influence afterwards is...

4 scotches over 3 hours is not exactly rip-snorting drunk for an average sized man. But as noted by Warren, mixing 4 scotches with medication has to be extremely bad judgement.

Thank you, Karma.

He'll be found innocent as cops don't rat on other cops. Hypocrites.

Looks like Riverside PD needs to have some Federal oversight since it covers up crimes by cops.


Not only was he drinking, taking prescription meds and driving. He was driving a city owned police vehicle. What city business was he conducting on Super Bowl evening...none.

Sgt. Frank Orta (a seasoned traffic investigator) hand wrote the traffic collision report. Don't they have a policy that states if an "on-duty" (as stated in the report) emergency vehicle is involved in a collision, the CHP will conduct the investigation? Well Frank, why didn't ya call the CHP and have them conduct the investigation.

So many questions, very few answers.

Posted by: Karen | February 17, 2010 at 01:22 PM

Karen is a cop

you know what. my ex is a trauma specialist/doctor, he works in a high stress environment. should he get a pass also?

what about kindergarten teachers?
howabout firemen?
gang interventionists?

do they get a pass also?

apply the standards equally. but we all know its very easy to give the sarge a ride home instead of a ride to the station. very easy.

I've never known an honest police officer and especially here in California as I have had more weird experiences with the police in this state than anywhere else in the world. That assessment includes twisted countries like China, countries in martial law, and just about every major state in the USA. The fact that the Police Chief in Riverside lied is no surprise to me. The profession attracts self-righteous, intolerant individuals that at the core, feel exempt from their actions. As for driving, the police in California are the most arrogant and reckless drivers around with absolutely no sense of etiquette or feeling of social responsibility by leading from example. I can't remember the last time I saw a police officer in this state use their turn signals, but yet so very quick to respond by giving the public nonsense about “job pressures” and a dozen other “victim based” excuses for bad and undisciplined behavior, wrapped in some underlining notion that in reality it’s their perverse right to violate the law at will. Don't like the heat? Get out of the kitchen. Instead, we the public let in Rif Raft so that people can stay on a job that in reality, they are not mentally ready to handle. With all of the crap candidates already infused in the system, like cancer in a body, the damage to the force has been, driven by an immature ideology called “political correctness”. In the end, the Police in California exercise "do what I say, not what I do".

Bookem Dano. VC 23152 A

"4 scotches over 3 hours is not exactly rip-snorting drunk for an average sized man. But as noted by Warren, mixing 4 scotches with medication has to be extremely bad judgement."

Who else thinks that the 4 scotches at a strip club from 10:30pm until closing time on Super Bowl Sunday were not the only drinks that were consumed by Leach that day?

To OMAR. It seems you need to get a life and stop worrying how others spell. Moron.

OMAR, try turning off the caps lock.

Blame the bartender.

I want to know about the $20 tip on a $22 tab.

At least he did the honorable thing and step down. Now its time to take it like a man.

Do the crime, pay the time.

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