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Riverside police chief steps down in wake of car crash

February 11, 2010 |  7:18 pm

Embattled Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach stepped down Thursday night three days after he crashed a city-owned car in an accident that remains under investigation.

According to a statement from Riverside City Manager Bradley Hudson, Leach, 61, will retire for "medical reasons" effective immediately.

Hudson said "a sweeping internal affairs investigation" into the Riverside Police Department's response to the chief's early morning crash is underway with oversight provided by former Riverside County Dist. Atty. Grover Trask.

A police report released Thursday said Leach was confused when stopped after the single-car crash, which occurred about 3 a.m. Monday. On the report, a box marked “HBD – impairment unknown” had been checked. HBD means “has been drinking” but there is no evidence Leach was given a field sobriety test.

Leach drove three miles on front tires that were burned down to the rims after his car jumped a curb and hit a fire hydrant and a light pole. Police said he was driving the wrong way down the street.

The accident is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

-- David Kelly

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