Town of Delavan officer involved in car accident

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Mike Heine
Thursday, January 10, 2008
— A town of Delavan police officer whose squad car rear-ended a minivan Wednesday morning was not ticketed because the road was slippery, according to the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department.

Sgt. Raymond Clark was eastbound on Highway 50 near the Delavan Lake inlet at 5:50 a.m. when his squad car rear-ended a stopped minivan signaling to turn left onto Eagle Street, according to the sheriff’s department report about the crash.

The impact pushed the minivan into an oncoming minivan, according to the report.

Helen Schacht, a 50-year-old Elkhorn woman driving the minivan struck by Clark, was hospitalized for minor injuries, according to the report.

Clark was not ticketed, even though the report indicates he was following too closely. The road was slippery and frost-covered at the time, according to the report.

Schacht declined to say if she thought Clark should be ticketed.

“I never even saw him until he hit me. I was turning,” Schacht told The Janesville Gazette.

The driver of the oncoming minivan, 20-year-old Daniel C. Ryan, Jr., of Lake Geneva, sustained minor injuries but was not transported to a hospital. He was citied for operating after revocation.

Ryan told the Gazette he didn’t see the collision between the squad and Schacht’s minivan, but said after looking at the damage to the squad car he thinks Clark was going “pretty fast.”

“I think he probably should have” gotten a ticket, Ryan said. “He got out of the car and said it was his fault. He said he wasn’t even looking.

“To me, for an officer to say he wasn’t even looking, that’s a problem.”

Sheriff’s department patrol Capt. Scott McClory said the deputy who investigated the crash, Brenda Thurin, exercised her discretion in deciding not to issue a citation.

“She investigated it on her own accord. She was not told to issue a ticket, and she was not told not to (issue a ticket),” McClory said. “Just like with other crashes, we don’t tell (deputies) to write or don’t write tickets. That’s not good policy to do that.”

McClory was not at the scene but said it appeared the accident was unavoidable because of the slick road.

Town of Delavan Police Chief Phill Smith said he was unsure if the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria squad car would be repaired or considered totaled. Its airbag deployed. The town has a squad in reserve and will not be short a patrol car, he said.

Clark was nearly finished with his third-shift on patrol at the time of the crash, Smith said.

Clark was expected back at work Friday night.

Smith said Clark will not be disciplined.

“This is why outside agencies are called in to investigate accidents involving our agency … to avoid the appearance of cover-ups,” Smith said.

Smith said this was the only accident involving a town squad that he could remember.

Last updated: 2:38 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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