Archive for Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tests show both drivers in motorcycle fatality were drunk, including off-duty police officer, who is now resigning

September 5, 2017, 1:57 p.m. Updated September 5, 2017, 4:41 p.m.

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Both motorcycle drivers were drunk at the time of a fatal crash where one was killed and the other, an off-duty police officer, was injured, test results show.

The July 16 wreck killed Jesse del Campo, 56, a Lawrence resident and operator of the North Lawrence biker bar Slow Ride Roadhouse.

Robert Heafey, 51, of Lawrence — the surviving rider and an 11-year veteran of the Lawrence Police Department — had a blood alcohol content of .198, according to an amended accident report from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. That is more than twice the legal limit to drive in Kansas, which is .08 percent.

Del Campo’s blood alcohol content was .153, according to the amended report, just under twice the legal limit to drive.

The initial accident report, completed and released by the sheriff’s office several days after the wreck, said alcohol consumption by both drivers was suspected of contributing to the incident. At that time, test results were pending.

The amended report containing those results was filed Friday, said Sgt. Kristen Channel of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert Heafey

Robert Heafey

Jesse M. del Campo Jr.

Jesse M. del Campo Jr.

The Journal-World requested the report and received it on Tuesday.

Heafey is resigning from the Lawrence Police Department effective this Friday, Sept. 8, department spokeswoman Sgt. Amy Rhoads said, in an email.

Rhoads said the department would not comment on an investigation of a specific employee.

Generally, she said, the department’s Office of Professional Accountability is responsible for internal investigations of employees accused of misconduct. The police chief determines whether an internal investigation will be conducted simultaneously with an alleged criminal violation of an employee, or at the conclusion of any criminal proceedings, Rhoads said.

She said investigations where criminal conduct or other serious policy violations are alleged are reviewed by the police chief, city management and the city attorney’s office.

The Kansas Highway Patrol, not the sheriff’s office, completed the testing on Heafey to avoid any conflict of interest because of his employment, Channel said.

Channel said she could not answer when or where Heafey’s blood sample was taken. She said the highway patrol provided test results to the sheriff’s office last week.

If the report were to be forwarded to the district attorney for consideration of DUI charges, that would be done by the highway patrol, not the sheriff’s office, Channel said.

“The Sheriff’s Office has no part in that investigation so there is no conflict of interest,” Channel said, in an email.

A highway patrol spokesman did not immediately return a message from the Journal-World.

Channel said del Campo’s blood for the test was drawn at the hospital, where he was flown after the wreck.

Before the wreck Del Campo had two DUIs, according to Douglas County Court records. He was sentenced for the second in 2011 and was on probation related to it until 2013.

The wreck that killed del Campo happened just after midnight in the 1600 block of North 1550 Road, just east of the Lawrence city limits.

According to the sheriff’s office accident report, Heafey told the responding deputy that he and del Campo were riding their motorcycles west 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.

Heafey told the deputy that after the wreck he saw del Campo lying on the side of the road, unresponsive, and called 911, according to the report.

When the deputy arrived a few minutes later he saw Heafey standing and del Campo on the ground, unresponsive, according to the report. Both motorcycles were in the ditch on the north side of the road.

The location of the wreck was a paved road, just past the curve where East 1625 Road turns into North 1550 Road, according to the report. The speed limit at that location was 45 mph, the report said.

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

Heafey was taken to a Topeka hospital after the wreck and was later released. Del Campo was flown to the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., but did not survive.

Contact public safety reporter Sara Shepherd
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Comments

Kevin Millikan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Yeah, couldn't have anything to do with a deer.. did they take blood from it?

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