Friday, June 20, 2008

Greenville Police Officer Charged In Crash


A Greenville City Police officer is charged with driving too fast for conditions after deputies say he slammed into the back of an ambulance.

It happened Wednesday night on Interstate 85 southbound. The ambulance slowed down for traffic near the Laurens Road exit, when Officer Benjamin Cothran plowed into the back of it. Deputies say the ambulance was not carrying any passengers, but the driver and an emergency technician were on board.

Officer Cothran was cited for driving too fast for conditions. He's the second officer to receive this citation in one week. Cothran, and both people in the ambulance were transported to Greenville Memorial where they were treated and released.

Officer Ken Derrick Accused in Insurance Scam


The ex-husband of a former State Attorney's Office employee who was charged earlier this year with insurance fraud now faces the same charge himself.

The charges against Ken Derrick, 37, are the fallout of his call to the Winter Haven Police Department about a fully clothed officer he found in the home he and his ex-wife shared.

Derrick, a former Lake Alfred police officer, was arrested Monday. He is accused of using health insurance in the name of his ex-wife, Kristie, to pay his medical bills.

Derrick was released from the Polk County Jail on Monday, after posting $1,000 bail.

Kristie Derrick, 34, was arrested in May on the same charge.


Kristie Derrick was fired from her job as a clerk in the State Attorney's Office last year after being accused of falsifying insurance records by telling her insurer that she was still married.

The couple had divorced in 2001. Kristie Derrick was hired by the State Attorney's Office in July 2006.

Kristie Derrick's insurance provider, United Healthcare, does not cover former spouses.

According to an arrest affidavit filed by the State Attorney's Office, Ken Derrick had last gone to Winter Haven Hospital complaining of chest pain on June 21, 2007.

His hospital admissions paperwork listed the United Healthcare insurance policy of Kristie Derrick and his relationship to her as "spouse."

Kristie Derrick is also listed as his spouse and emergency contact on multiple forms.

As a result of the hospital visit, United Healthcare paid $6,935 for his treatment, the affidavit stated.


On July 24, 2007, State Attorney Executive Director Sam Cardinale questioned Kristie Derrick, asking whether she was married, the affidavit stated.

Initially, she said she was, and then immediately said she was divorced. She said that the listing Ken Derrick as her husband on her personnel records and employee health insurance was an oversight because they had lived together as husband and wife for several years, the affidavit said.

The day after her conversation with Cardinale, Derrick was fired.

In an Aug. 7, 2007, letter, Derrick protested her firing, and inquired about appeal rights.

In the letter, she said the office's requirement that she cooperate with a law enforcement agency's investigation invaded her privacy, and "invaded her common law marriage."

Eligibility for health care coverage includes the employee, spouse and children. Florida doesn't recognize common law marriages.

Investigation into allegations of insurance fraud began after Ken Derrick filed a complaint with Winter Haven police that he went to the home he still shared with Kristie Derrick and found police Sgt. David Keigan standing fully clothed and standing in the shower.

Keigan eventually was demoted to officer for ignoring his duties by leaving the city on June 6, 2007.

Police officials said he left his police vehicle in a parking lot at a branch courthouse where Kristie Derrick worked. They drove to her Auburndale home in her car.

This sparked an internal affairs investigation at the Police Department and at the State Attorney's Office.

According to arrest affidavits, the Derricks still share the same home in Auburndale.

If both Derricks are convicted, the State Attorney's Office will seek restitution on behalf of United Healthcare, said Chip Thullbery, administrative state attorney.

Deputy Helps Woman Flee


A Middlesex County sheriff's officer has been charged with interference with custody in connection with a case against a woman who allegedly fled to India with her two children in violation of a court order.

Officer Ryan Ramdass, 33, of Kendall Park was suspended without pay from his job following his arrest Thursday at the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, authorities said. Ramdass has worked at the Middlesex County Courthouse since he began with the office three years ago.

Police said Ramdass, who shared a home with the woman, his girlfriend, helped her leave the country June 8.

The father of the children, a 4-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, was called by staff at their pre-school when they failed to show up shortly after they left the country, said Brian Gillet, assistant Middlesex County prosecutor.

Authorities said the father attempted to find out where they were throughout that week and reported them missing to the police on Sunday, Gillet said.

The mother and father are divorced and have joint custody of the children, he said. Ramdass was also charged with hindering apprehension and false swearing. He faces up to 10 years in prison on the interference charge alone if he is convicted.

Authorities have not released the name of the woman or what charges she faces.

Ramdass was freed after posting 10 percent of $35,000 bail in cash, authorities said.

As a sheriff's officer, Ramdass made $54,781 in 2007, according to public records.

Officer Chong Kim Accused of Inappropriate Searching

A Scottsdale police officer has resigned after being accused in an e-mail of illegally searching a 19-year-old woman who had summoned police.

Officer Chong Kim, an officer for a little more than two years, has been under investigation since Tuesday, when he was questioned about a call at a Scottsdale apartment complex near 66th Place and Osborn Road.Kim was responding Sunday to a call about a possible break-in at the woman's apartment.

Officer David Pubins, a Scottsdale police spokesman, said the woman's mother sent e-mails to police and several news outlets, alleging that when Kim arrived he "illegally searched" her daughter.

Pubins said the case is still under investigation.

"We take all of these allegations seriously," Pubins said.