Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Former Riverside police chief charged with drunk driving [Updated]

March 22, 2010 | 12:05 pm


Former Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs after crashing his city-owned vehicle last month, officials said Monday.

The California Highway Patrol, which investigated the incident, said Leach had four drinks at his home on Super Bowl Sunday before going to a strip club in Colton where he had at least seven more. He was taking prescription pain medication at the same time.

He later crashed his car into a "low-profile object," causing extensive damage to the car, but he kept on driving for another mile or so, officials said. Riverside police officers who responded to the accident said Leach had been drinking but they did not file any charges against him.

[Updated at 12:35 p.m.: A previous version of this post said Leach had crashed into a fire hydrant and light pole, but police are now saying they do not know what he hit.]

An internal investigation is underway to determine if the officers behaved properly or if Leach got special treatment because he was the chief. Leach, 62, resigned a few days after the accident. He said he was taking pain medication but never admitted to drinking.

The CHP also said they had a photo from a red-light enforcement camera showing Leach going through the light at about 2:24 a.m., roughly a half-hour before the crash. Leach is to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. in Riverside on Thursday.

-- David Kelly in Riverside

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times