A prisoner hurt in a crash involving a speeding sheriff’s vehicle has filed a complaint with the county’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board alleging that two deputies failed to fasten his seatbelt before taking off on a wild ride to jail. “Deputy 1 was transporting the complainant to a detention facility when he was involved in a three car collision,” says a case description. “Deputy 1 acknowledged that he did not place the complainant in a safety belt prior to the transport, but had observed Deputy 2 attempt to do so. Per deputies, Deputy 2 could not secure the safety belt around the complainant due to his large size.”
But that was no excuse not to buckle up, the staff report maintains. “The only exception is if transporting a violently combative prisoner, where during placement of a seat belt on a subject would create a potential injury situation to the deputy and/or prisoner.” According to the findings, “if a passenger is too large to be secured in a standard safety belt, protocol requires that the passenger should be transported in a facility van, or the Prisoner Transportation Unit be contacted for transportation assistance.”
Compounding the offense, the report says, the deputy behind the wheel at the time of the multiple collisions was later found to be driving too fast. “A California Highway Patrol Officer conducted a collision investigation and determined that Deputy 1 was the primary cause of this collision by driving in violation of [the] Basic Speed Law.” Adds the account, “The CHP investigation further concluded that ‘Deputy 1 was traveling at such a speed that he was unable to observe, perceive and react in time.’” The resulting accident caused “numerous injuries” to the prisoner, raising further concerns about already controversial deputy motoring practices.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Sheriffs Association’s political action committee has come out for Democratic supervisor Dave Roberts, spending $11,150 on signs and polling, according to an April 20 disclosure report. Encinitas mayor Kristin Gaspar, one of his Republican opponents, personally lent her own campaign $50,000 on April 19. San Diego Unified school-board member Sharon Whitehurst-Paine lent her election campaign $10,000 on April 11. In February, Whitehurst-Paine was chosen by the board to fill the unexpired term of Marne Foster, who resigned after pleading guilty to charges related to illegal solicitation of funding for her son’s college tuition.