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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Originally published at: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2017/sep/11/-duty-police-officer-charged-dui-wreck-killed-fell/