Internal investigation: Officers unaware of crash behind them
Dash cam shows driver's car rear-ended; he blames officers for leaving
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The I-TEAM is learning new details about dash cam video from a driver who claimed two Community Service Officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office stopped, caused a rear-end crash, and then left the scene without rendering aid.
We first showed you the video Friday, and we now have the results of JSO's internal investigation into the matter.
The video shows the moment driver Kelvin Walker is rear-ended on Bay Street downtown. It happened after Walker slowed down for the officers, who stopped in the middle of the road. In the video, the officers block both lanes and appear to be talking to each other through the windows of their vehicles.
In a civilian complaint to JSO, Walker wrote in part:
"Immediately following the impact, both Community Patrol cars, made a U-Turn and stared at us, and kept driving sway from the accident, traveling Westerly on Bay Street without rendering any assistance."
The I-TEAM showed the video to Jacksonville attorney Gene Nichols, who is not associated with this case.
"I think we first want to question, why did they stop the vehicles in the first place?" Nichols asked after watching the dash cam video. "Hopefully for their sake, there's going to be something that they were going to that was incredibly important and they called another individual because as we saw from that crash, there was enough of a crash there that somebody should have noticed."
In the Internal Affairs Resolution obtained by the I-TEAM Monday, the community service officers are identified as Christopher Durham and Tyler Caufield. Both told investigators they were dispatched to a crash up on I-95, so they both stopped on Bay Street to formulate a plan to assist with the crash.
The report goes on to say that both officers stated independently that they did not see the accident behind them, and both said they would have stopped if they had. JSO's investigation found "no indisputable proof" that either community service officer observed the crash.
"I think JSO is going to have to investigate why their officers, when it appears they realize they went the wrong way, activated their emergency lights in order to make a U-turn. I think any civilian who is in that position, who is going to stop in the middle of the road, is going to be liable," Nichols told the I-TEAM.
Following the internal investigation, the report says both officers were given informal counseling on their driving habits and stopping in the middle of the road.
Walker said the driver that hit him from behind did stop, and the driver's insurance did pay for damages done to his car. He told the I-TEAM he is satisfied with JSO's internal investigation and is pleased to know that the officers were reprimanded about their driving.
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