Archive for Friday, July 21, 2017

Accident report: Both drivers, including police officer, suspected of drinking before fatal motorcycle crash

July 21, 2017, 11:08 a.m. Updated July 21, 2017, 1:18 p.m.


Both drivers involved in Sunday’s fatal motorcycle wreck east of Lawrence — including the off-duty Lawrence police officer who survived — were suspected of drinking and driving, contributing to the crash, according to the accident investigation report.

The Journal-World requested the investigation report shortly after the accident and received it Friday morning, after it was completed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The wreck happened just after midnight Sunday in the 1600 block of North 1550 Road.

Jesse del Campo, 56, of Lawrence, was flown to the University of Kansas hospital from the scene but did not survive.

Lawrence police officer Robert Heafey, 51, also of Lawrence, was taken to a Topeka hospital after the crash, and has been released.

Alcohol is believed to have contributed to the crash, according to an accident investigation report from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Both drivers were suspected of drinking alcohol and evidentiary tests were given, according to the sheriff’s report. Results of those tests are pending.

According to the report:

Heafey told the responding sheriff’s deputy that he and del Campo were riding westbound on North 1550 Road when a deer ran out in front of him. Heafey said he swerved to miss the deer and laid his bike down, causing del Campo to run over him while he was sliding on the ground. Both motorcycles came to rest in the ditch on the north side of the road.

Heafey told the deputy that after the wreck he looked up and saw del Campo lying on the side of the road, unresponsive, and called 911, according to the report. The deputy arrived at the scene about three minutes later and saw Heafey standing and del Campo on the ground, unresponsive, according to the report.

The location of the wreck was just past a curve where East 1625 Road turns into North 1550 Road, according to the report. The road there is asphalt with a posted speed limit of 45 mph, according to the report.

Neither man was wearing a helmet, according to the sheriff's office.

Heafey is still off duty from the police department recovering from his injuries, interim Police Chief Anthony Brixius said Friday morning, responding to the Journal-World in an email.

Brixius said he could not comment further on the incident or on Heafey’s status with the department at this stage, as it is a personnel matter. Generally, Brixius said, if an officer is alleged to have violated the law or department policy, the police department conducts an investigation to determine whether any department policies were violated.

Heafey has been with the department for 11 years, since July 2006.

Del Campo was well known in the Lawrence and area biker communities. He operated Slow Ride Roadhouse in North Lawrence, one of a number of local businesses owned by his family.

Contact public safety reporter Sara Shepherd
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Sheldon Shogrin 8 months ago

Looks like Heafey should lose his job and at the very least be convicted for the DUI, if not also be charged with vehicular manslaughter. Anybody else sure would be, and probably still on jail from Sunday night.

Mike Riner 8 months ago

Sheldon, I hope that you never serve on a jury, as you apparently don't believe in the concept of "innocent until proven guilty." A newspaper printing that alcohol was suspected as a contributor in the accident is not the same as evidence or proof that it was. The test results have not been received yet. Or do you simply jump to your conclusions because the man is a Police Officer?

Terri Ferguson 8 months ago

You know I write this as I sit at the service gathering for Del Campo and I am really just dismayed to see that you all didn't even wait for the body to get in the ground before ya all felt the need to post this. Certainly not very classy ljworld, not classy at all

Mike Gant 8 months ago

So to be clear, Terri, you are sitting at a memorial service surrounded by the mourning family members and friends of the deceased, and you are on your cell phone browsing web pages and typing in comment sections?

Not very classy at all, indeed...

Jon Bierig 8 months ago

Well I'm not sitting at the service,I was there along with 500 other bikers. We have laid Jesse to rest. I'm not going to do any name calling or say what I think of the people on here wanting to have some one go to jail or loose there job,or even the LJW for not waiting for people to stop mourning on this said day. What I am going to say is this. I hope that if anything this heartbreaking happens to any one of you folks that you won't have to go through the ridicule and nay saying like all the family and friends of the Delcampo family are going through. With that god bless

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 8 months ago

Not all of us who post here are jerks. I feel for you family. I hope in his honor you carry on the charitable work he was doing.

Marvin Shanks 8 months ago

LJWORLD, You have the decency to withhold the names of potential sex offenders because who knows why yet you show little respect for the loss of a human life. In the article you even stated " Results of those tests are pending". We can all make our own assumptions about what happend without you putting in print what you believe will get the most attention.Come on now!

Francis Hunt 8 months ago

The headline 3 days ago "Surviving driver of Sunday's fatal motorcycle wreck is a Lawrence police officer" didn't get any comments so it was only a matter of time before we get a headline like the above.

The journal world has a history of not allowing a family to mourn before they use their loss to sell papers. They will tell you it is their responsibility to inform the public but that is bull. Of course we all know how they feel about law enforcement so this probably made their day.

Terri Ferguson 8 months ago

Mike, no loss of class here Sir. Merely sitting on patio at Slowride-drinking water waiting on family to arrive. Judge much?

Curtis Martell 8 months ago

I don't think it's irresponsible for LJW world to report this. I for one had been wondering about the circumstances of the accident. Jesse was a prominent person in the Lawrence community we want to know. I'm not even going to read any more comments on this.

I'm a motorcyclist and I ride the county roads all the time. I ride my motorcycle at night an sometimes after a beer. Its dangerous - - I was actually asked by a friend if I thought alcohol was involved. Hell I didn't know. I also don't know Jesse but I've meet him a few times and by all accounts he was a great guy and I enjoyed a visit to Slow Ride now and then.

Instead of having some opinion on this tragedy and the reporting of it go mow the lawn or something productive.

My condolences to Jesse's friends and family.

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