The incident occurred on May 1, 2013, when Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene of an accident. There, the deputies found that one of the vehicles involved in the collision belonged to one of their own. An off-duty deputy from Martinsburg told the on-duty officers that his girlfriend was driving the vehicle.
Berkeley County deputies called for the assistance of the West Virginia police. When the troopers arrived 40 minutes later, they took over the investigation into the incident. Eventually, law enforcement officers determined that there may have been more to this accident than originally thought.
Further investigation showed that the deputy may have been intoxicated and driving the vehicle at the time of the collision, switching places with his girlfriend before the other officers arrived on the scene. Investigators suspected that the couple lied to the insurance company when making a claim, stating that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
As a result of the incident, the deputy lost his job with the department. He was charged with drunk driving, providing false information to the police, conspiracy and insurance fraud. His girlfriend was similarly charged, excluding the DUI offense.
It is easy to say “I’ll never face this situation” or one like it, but the truth is that when we are placed in stressful situations we don’t always make the best decisions. Knowing our job could be on the line might make us act impulsively or knowing we may be facing thousands of dollars in repairs might make us fudge the truth a little.
The consequences for some of these bad decisions can be very serious. Fighting the charges could mean avoiding penalties like the loss of a driver’s license that could hinder the ability to get to work, a felony conviction that could affect our right to vote or even jail time that puts life on hold.
Source: The Journal, “Trial continued for former deputy charged with DUI, insurance fraud,” Edward Marshall, March 5, 2014