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

February 17, 2010 | 12:04 pm

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