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DUI dash cam shows limping fmr. police chief

June 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dash cam footage has surfaced of former Riverside Police Chief Russ Leach, who has since pleaded guilty to DUI and resigned his post as Riverside's top cop.The police dash cam video shows Leach being pulled over just before 3 a.m. last Feb. 8. As one officer approaches the driver's side of the vehicle, the chief holds his badge out the window. You can hear the officer ask the chief if he needs some help getting home.

The 62-year-old chief crashed his city-owned Chrysler 300 into a light pole and a fire hydrant in Riverside that morning. Two tires were missing when he was stopped by his own officers three miles away. Also, there was major damage to the fender, bumper and doors.

According to a 500 page report on the incident, the CHP investigation found that when the officers radioed dispatch, they referred to the driver as "the chief". About 13 minutes after Leach was pulled over, you can see that he slowly gets out of the vehicle to assess the damage and he appears to be limping.

The CHP report concludes that the chief "stumbled" back into his car. He had taken eight prescription drugs earlier and had 11 alcoholic drinks, some at home and some at Club 215, a topless bar in Colton.

The chief was also captured on surveillance video at the bar just hours before the crash. According to CHP's report, the officers made several calls to Riverside Assistant Police Chief John De La Rosa that night, and it was De La Rosa who made the decision not to pursue a DUI investigation of the chief. He also decided that the officers should give the chief a ride home.

The report also indicates that he had been drinking, but his impairment was not known. There were no blood or alcohol samples.

There is still ongoing investigation into whether the Riverside Police Department acted appropriately, and those findings are expected soon.

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