Thursday, February 19, 2009

Officer Christopher Eldridge Charged with Possession of Controlled Substance

An off-duty Prattville police officer was arrested on drug charges Wednesday afternoon in Montgomery following a car chase.

Christopher Eldridge, 35, of the 600 block of Wisteria Lane in Prattville, was charged with possession of a controlled substance in addition to misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, said Maj. Huey Thornton, a spokesman for the Montgomery Police Department.

Thornton said the controlled substance was crack cocaine. Eldridge also was issued “several” traffic citations, according to Thornton.

Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr. confirmed Thursday that Eldridge is a third-shift patrol officer with the Prattville Police Department. Byard said Eldridge was off duty due to military leave.

“Right now this is a personal and legal matter the officer has to work through,” Byard said. “In the future, it will become a personnel issue for the city. We don’t comment on personnel or pending personnel matters.”

Eldridge could not be reached for comment Thursday morning. There is no number listed for him in the Prattville phone book. Directory assistance listed a “C. Eldridge” on Wisteria Lane, but that number is unpublished at the owner’s request.

Prattville Police Chief Alfred Wadsworth said he would not comment until he had a chance to speak with Eldridge.

Eldridge allegedly was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Impala the wrong way in the northbound lanes of Interstate 85, Thornton said. A Montgomery police officer tried to pull him over, but he led police on a chase, he said. The pursuit never exceeded 50 mph, he said.

Police pursued Eldridge as he exited the interstate at Day Street and went through downtown Montgomery to Atlanta Highway, Thornton said. When the chase neared Greenwood Funeral Home on Lincoln Road, the pursuing patrol car tapped the back of Eldridge’s vehicle, which spun out, Thornton said.

Eldridge then became combative with officers and was hit with a Taser, Thornton said. He was taken by ambulance to Jackson Hospital for treatment, Thornton said.

Eldridge was booked into the Montgomery County Jail at 6 p.m. Wednesday and released on bonds totaling $16,000 at 8:07 p.m. Wednesday, said Montgomery County Sheriff D.T. Marshall.

Former Deputy Marc Diaz Accused of Kidnapping & Rape worked for School District


A former Riverside County sheriff's deputy accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in La Quinta worked for the Coachella Valley Unified School District for 16 months, the man's lawyer confirmed Thursday.

Marc Javier Diaz, 35, of Indio, is charged with kidnapping to commit rape and two counts of rape under the threat of authority of a public official. He faces life in prison if convicted, said Michael Jeandron of the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

Diaz is accused of walking into a La Quinta business Jan. 31, displaying a law enforcement badge and demanding identification from employees and the people inside, said sheriff's Deputy Herlinda Valenzuela.

He allegedly ordered a female customer who had no identification into his pickup truck, drove her to a secluded location and raped her, Valenzuela said.

Diaz appeared in court today for a felony settlement conference -- an informal discussion before a judge between a defense lawyer and a prosecutor to discuss a possible resolution to the case -- and Riverside County Superior Court Judge Thomas Douglass ordered him to return on March 10 for a preliminary hearing.

Deputy Public Defender David Prendergast, who represents Diaz, confirmed outside court that Diaz worked for the Coachella Valley Unified School District for 16 months.

Prendergast said he did not know the specific school or position Diaz had within the school district.

Officials at the Coachella Valley superintendent's office previously had "no comment" on whether Diaz worked for the school district, and the superintendent was unavailable this morning.

Diaz was arrested in 2004 on suspicion of using a prostitute in Indio, said Ben Guitron of the Indio Police Department.

At the time, he was a nine-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department and was working in the Indio courthouse, but the next month he resigned, Valenzuela said.

The District Attorney's Office never filed charges against Diaz for the prostitution allegation because of insufficient evidence, Jeandron said.

Diaz is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Lt. Keith Kibler in Trouble After Fighting with his Wife


A lieutenant with the Erie County Sheriff's Office is in trouble with the law Thursday night.

Hamburg Police say Lieutenant Keith Kibler grabbed the steering wheel from his wife during a domestic dispute Thursday morning, forcing their car off Route Five.

Kibler is charged with reckless endangerment and illegal possession of Valium.

He is free on bail.



Officer Dwayne Johnson Paid $168K, Accused of Skipping Work


"He made a lot of money because he was one of the few people here who volunteers on all occasions to work overtime," said Schenectady Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett.

He says police Officer Dwayne Johnson may have worked plenty of overtime, but after a Daily Gazette investigation, police are now investigating whether Johnson truly worked when he said he did.

"It should have been a member safety issue," Bennett said. "Some questions should have been raised when this car didn't move."

According to the Commissioner, on several Tuesday mornings, Johnson apparently parked his police car outside an apartment off Kings Road, not his residence, for several hours.

"What was he doing there?" our reporter asked.

Bennett said, "I don't know."

Schenectady police officials say they're looking into an investigation by the Daily Gazette, allegations that their top-earning police officer, who made nearly $170,000 last year with extensive overtime work, spent Tuesday mornings at an apartment in the city. Our Steve Ference reports.

This, as Johnson made more money than any other officer, around $168,000 last year, mostly from overtime. The department, now trying to figure out what Johnson may have been doing and why no one seemed to notice even though they track cars by GPS.

"Why was this not picked up on?" the Commissioner asked aloud.

Bennett says after the Gazette found Johnson was spending his early Tuesday mornings here, police prepared to catch him in the act. So they came here on a following Tuesday, but the problem was Johnson didn't show, leading some to wonder if he may have been tipped off by someone in the department.

"If we identify someone indeed interfered with this, which is a confidential investigation, they too will find themselves on the receiving end of disciplinary action," said Bennett.

"I can't think of any reason why this would be happening," said Schenectady Common Council Member, Barbara Blanchard.

A number of city leaders, like councilwoman Blanchard, call it disappointing, especially after a slew of scandals for police in the city, including stolen drug evidence and a former police chief pleading guilty to drug charges.

"Once we have pulled all the documents, all the GPS records and done all the interviews we can do, then he will be interviewed," said Bennett.

Department policies have been updated to address the issue, Johnson remains on duty and city officials argue potential bad conduct by the few shouldn't taint a department that's now looking for answers once again.


Larry Wayne Slaven Charged with Assault of 10-year-old


A former security guard is facing charges in connection with the assault of a 10-year-old boy.

The man, Larry Wayne Slaven, lost his job over the incident, but there is concern that he could still pose as a guard because he has the security company's uniforms and badges.

Janet Gschwind filed criminal charges against Slaven after what she said he did to her son. Gschwind said on two occasions, Slaven chased her 10-year-old son, Ryan, shooting him with plastic pellets from an airsoft gun.

"He was begging him to stop, telling him it hurt," said Gschwind.

Until recently, Slaven worked as a private security guard at Associated Security and Patrol, until the state licensing board finished its background check.

Slaven had not told the board about his January 2008 domestic violence charge, which was dismissed. His also still has to face the pending assault charge on Gschwind's son. Because of the charges, the guard company fired Slaven.

Ron Crowe of Associated Security and Patrol said his company is concerned that Slaven hasn't returned around six uniform shirts, a badge and patches. They hope he's not impersonating a guard or police officer.

"There's no telling what he might want to do or gain from somebody he might want to stop," said Crowe.

When contacted by Channel 4, Slaven invited reporter Nancy Amons to contact his attorney. He said he plans to return his uniforms to the company Thursday.

Slaven had been a volunteer with the Lakewood Police Department and had applied for a reserve officer's job. The police chief said when the background check on Slaven found the charges, he decided against hiring him.

Officer Meredith Shook Charged with DUI


Police officer Meredith Shook, who was in an off-duty accident last month in her personal SUV, was arrested on a warrant today charging her with driving under the influence, police said.

Shook, 33, of 48 Humphrey St. in Seymour also was charged with risk of injury to a minor and failure to drive in the proper lane, police said. She was released on a written promise to appear March 2 at Derby Superior Court.

Shook crashed her SUV on Jan. 15 in the area of the Tri-Town Plaza on Derby Avenue. Police applied for a warrant to arrest Shook after concluding their investigation earlier this month.

The status of Shook's job was not available today.

Officer Tanience Harris Charged with False Imprisonment


An Albany Police Officer was arrested and suspended after a romantic relationship with a co-worker got a little ugly.

Patrol Officer Taniece Harris is charged with criminal damage to property and false imprisonment for two incidents that happened last fall. Investigators just took out warrants Wednesday.

They say Harris damaged two personal vehicles of Patrol Officer Jermaine Lewis then intentionally detained him by standing in the doorway of his patrol car so he couldn't drive away while he was on duty.

Both officers were disciplined... And Harris is now suspended with pay. More charges could be filed against Harris.

Former Officer Dennis Hughes Charged with Statutory Rape

A former Cleveland police officer, already facing charges related to the shooting of another officer last year, now stands charged with three counts of statutory rape, one count of especially aggravated sexual exploitation, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to District Attorney Steve Bebb.

Former Cleveland Police officer, Dennis Hughes, 33, turned himself in at the Bradley County Jail this morning. His bond was set at $50,000. As of press time, he had not made bond.

A second former officer, Nathan Thomas, 37, is under scrutiny related to the alleged sex offenses a search warrant executed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation indicates.

The search was conducted at the home of Thomas and on the Hughes' vehicle.

The investigation stemmed from an incident on Jan. 5 when Hughes was arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a 16-year-old girl, who was reported as a runaway.

Hughes was reportedly observed leaving Thomas' home at 152 Winding Glen Drive N.W. at 12:40 a.m. with the 16-year-old girl in his vehicle.

Bradley County deputies initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Lauderdale Highway and Mouse Creek Road. When deputies searched Hughes' vehicle, they allegedly found numerous empty and full beer bottles and prescription pill bottles. Deputies also detected both Hughes and the girl had a "strong smell of alcohol about their person."

According to the TBI's search warrant, after the girl was apprehended, she was taken to a hospital for a rape examination.

The examination was reportedly conducted at the request of her parents.

During the examination, the girl reportedly admitted that in the past she had sexual intercourse with Hughes; however, the female said there had been no sexual contact at the time of his arrest Jan. 5.

Through the search warrants, agents with the TBI confiscated a cell phone and computer from Hughes' vehicle. According to the TBI's search warrant, agents performed a forensic examination of the cell phone and "found three pictures of an underage and under-developed female in the nude."

During an interview with Cleveland Police Detective Suzanne Jackson on Jan. 12, the girl reportedly told Jackson the cell phone pictures found in Hughes' possession were allegedly taken by Hughes in a bathroom at Thomas' residence on the night of Jan. 4.

According to the TBI's search warrant, during the interview with Jackson, the girl alleged that on Jan. 4 she and a 17-year-old girl were at the Thomas home. The 16-year-old girl reportedly told Jackson she engaged in oral sex with Hughes and the 17-year-old engaged in oral sex with Thomas. The 16-year-old reportedly told Jackson she and the 17-year-old were under the influence of alcohol during the incident.

During the search warrant's execution at Thomas' home, TBI agents photographed Thomas' bathrooms to compare with the background of the nude pictures of the 16-year-old girl.

Hughes and Thomas continue to be investigated by the TBI, Hughes in connection with the shooting of a city police officer and Thomas for selling prescription painkillers.

According to reports, on Nov. 30, 2008, city police officer Chris Mason and former city police officer Jonathan Hammons, 23, -- who were on duty -- were at the home of Hughes, who was off duty, shortly before midnight.

The men were reportedly looking at a .38 caliber revolver which was possibly for sale. During the handling of the firearm the gun discharged and struck Mason in the hand, Cleveland Police Chief Wes Snyder said in a December 2008 statement.

The incident was initially reported as an accidental shooting; however, after further investigation it was determined Hammons and Hughes allegedly gave investigators false information.

Hammons was arrested Dec. 17, 2008, and was charged with aggravated perjury and filing a false report in connection to the shooting.

Hughes was arrested Dec. 18, 2008, and was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment, aggravated perjury and filing a false report in connection to the shooting.

On the night of the shooting, Nov. 30, 2008, officers found a prescription pill bottle with Thomas' name in Hughes' personal vehicle.

As a result of the shooting investigation, Hughes resigned from the Cleveland Police Department in December 2008.

Hammons and Thomas were dismissed from the department in January.

Thomas was arrested Jan. 5, in connection with a two-year investigation by the 10th Judicial Drug Task Force.

As a result of the investigation, Thomas was charged with prescription fraud, possession of Schedule II and III narcotics for resale and simple possession of a Schedule V narcotic.

According to reports, the Drug Task Force's investigation alleges Thomas was a patient of Dr. James Wallace Sego. Thomas was allegedly prescribed 6,000 oxycodones, 1,100 hydrocodones and 790 Xanax within one year's time by Sego.

Thomas is being accused of selling the prescription painkillers.

Sego practices internal medicine and pain management at Bradley Executive Plaza located at 1510 Stuart Road N.E.

Sego was also arrested Dec. 18, 2008, and charged with felony counts of illegally selling prescription painkillers and other drugs.

Agents with the 10th Judicial Drug Task Force served a search warrant for Thomas' residence on Dec. 12, 2008.

According to the inventory on the search warrant, agents found "a large cardboard box with extremely large amounts of various drugs, samples, etc. (too numerous to list individually)," weapons, syringes and cell phones.

"One white plastic snorting device (ink pen) with yellow residue" was found in the master bedroom in a decorative drawer near the top of the dresser, along with several other items, such as "one prescription box w/1 glass vial inside labeled DEPO-Testosterone."

Among the weapons were two .22-caliber Glenfield rifles, one with a serial number and one without, and a Sig Sauer P2229 .40 caliber.

Officer Finess Brown Accused of Assaulting Wife Turns in Badge

Murfreesboro Police decommissioned a police officer accused of assaulting his wife last week.

Officer Finess Brown was decommissioned Friday by Deputy Chief Randy Garrett, said Maj. Clyde Adkison. Chief Glenn Chrisman concurred with the decommission.

Under a decommission, a police officer must turn in his service firearm and badge and is released of his police powers.

Detective Jennifer West is still investigating the allegations made by Brown’s wife, Catina. He has not been charged.

Deputies served an ex parte order on Brown Sunday at the sheriff’s office. The order requires him to stay away from his wife. A hearing on the order is set Tuesday in Circuit Court.

Brown, 36, was accused of assaulting his wife during an argument last Tuesday. The wife accused him of grabbing her wrist, causing her arm to be pulled behind her, Sgt. Harry Haigh reported. Their 15-year-old son tried to intervene.

“I examined Ms. Brown’s wrist and did not notice any signs of injury and she stated she was not injured,” Haigh reported.

Brown was charged with domestic assault of his wife in June 2007. Court records showed no documentation, indicating his record might have been erased as part of his case.