Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Police officer charged with DUI in off-duty wreck that killed fellow motorcycle driver

September 11, 2017


A now-former Lawrence police officer is facing DUI charges from an off-duty wreck that killed a fellow motorcycle driver.

Robert T. Heafey, 51, of Lawrence, an 11-year-veteran of the Lawrence Police Department, resigned from the force Friday, the same day the charge against him was filed in Douglas County District Court.

Heafey is charged with one count of DUI in connection with the wreck, according to court documents. The charge is a misdemeanor.

Robert Heafey

Robert Heafey

Heafey is accused of operating or attempting to operate a vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol concentration — as measured within three hours of driving — of .08 or more, according to the charges.

An alternative count of DUI filed against Heafey is slightly less specific. According to the alternative count in the charge, Heafey allegedly operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to a degree that rendered him incapable of safely driving.

A test performed on Heafey after the wreck showed he had a blood alcohol content of .198, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s amended accident report, which the Journal-World obtained last week.

Heafey's arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 18, according to court records.

Jesse M. del Campo Jr.

Jesse M. del Campo Jr.

The other involved motorcycle driver, who died in the incident, was Jesse del Campo Jr., 56, a Lawrence resident and operator of the North Lawrence biker bar Slow Ride Roadhouse.

Del Campo also was drunk at the time of the wreck, according to the sheriff’s office amended accident report. According to the report, testing showed del Campo’s blood alcohol content was .153, just under twice the legal limit to drive.

The wreck happened just after midnight July 16 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 called 911 after the wreck, according to the report. When the deputy arrived, he found del Campo unresponsive, Heafey standing by him and both motorcycles in the ditch on the north side of the road.

The location of the wreck was just past the curve where East 1625 Road turns into North 1550 Road, where the speed limit was 45, 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.

Del Campo’s blood was taken at the hospital after the wreck, Sgt. Kristen Channel of the sheriff’s office previously told the Journal-World.

The Kansas Highway Patrol performed testing on Heafey to avoid any conflict of interest because of his job, and also was responsible for forwarding test results to the DA for consideration of a DUI charge, Channel previously said.

Contact public safety reporter Sara Shepherd
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JD Mfin Razzleson 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Drunk? You use the word drunk? How bout intoxicaded? Or even better over the legal limit LJW what is your problem. Who are these horrible heartless writers? Think of the family and friends opposed to your lack of word choice. Very disappointed in this article.

Mike Gant 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Think of the family and friends? That's a lot more than Del Campo did when he got DRUNK and rode a motorcycle at NIGHT with no HELMET.

But sure, argue about semantics. The fact is if you are going to be very disappointed in anyone, it should be the officer of the law and the local motorcycle advocate that both decided to play loose and free with their own (and everyone else's) lives.

Arin Peters 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Why not use the word drunk? I mean, he was drunk, wasn't he? I agree with Mike, arguing semantics at this point seems ridiculous. Maybe if he wasn't drunk, the LJW wouldn't have written that into the article!

Richard Quinlan 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Alcohol causes so much tragedy , kills , ruins lives . Aint it great !

Thomas Bryce Jr. 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Considering it is available in most gas stations, liquor stores and restaurants, why do you think it is so accessible if it causes so much tragedy? Alcohol Is the #1 Gateway drug. Then, why is it still legal ? Right! Money and profit from sales and taxes. You see where our priorities are?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 months, 2 weeks ago

Thomas, I could not agree with you more..........there is so much gabble about the pain killer epidemic.........You are correct about alcohol.............but you do not see any movement anywhere to limit or ban it........Our priorities are all screwed up.

Franz Bruyere 9 months, 2 weeks ago


It is apparent that, throughout history, any attempt to restrict or ban a 'vice' (alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.) has met with unceasing opposition. Yet, when someone tries to push for 'good', no one lifts a finger.

An alcohol ban was done back in the early 1900's... look what happened: it led to a very large illegal underground trade (led by the mob).

It won't happen again because too many people push to keep it legal (or at least, 'alive'), and also because it makes the companies so much money :(

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