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