Petaluma police officer accused of drunken scooter crash
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:16 p.m.
A Petaluma police officer who was recognized for DUI enforcement is fighting charges that he was drunk last fall when he crashed a motorized scooter at a public golf course during an annual law enforcement tournament.
Ryan McGreevy, honored for his work in 2007 by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is facing a single misdemeanor count of driving under the influence following the spill on the Rooster Run Golf Club fairway.
McGreevy, 35, a Petaluma officer for about eight years, did not appear in court for a hearing this week to discuss a possible settlement. He has pleaded not guilty and remains on active duty, said his lawyer, Michael Li.
Li said McGreevy was not asked to perform sobriety tests at the time of the crash and police took no blood or breath samples related to a DUI investigation.
“At this point in time there is no evidence as to what his blood-alcohol content was,” Li said.
Prosecutor Brian Staebell has subpoenaed records from Petaluma Valley Hospital, where McGreevy was treated for unknown injuries after the crash. Both sides will return to court March 25.
Staebell would not discuss details, citing an ongoing investigation.
However, witnesses reported McGreevy was “boisterous” and had been drinking from a red cup at the Oct. 5 tournament to benefit the department's hostage negotiation team, according to a police report.
Alcohol was served at the event, which was attended by many other officers and department brass, the report said.
McGreevy reported to the tournament after working the graveyard shift and helped with various tasks including transporting “pin-up girls” in a golf cart, the report said.
At one point, McGreevy hopped on a fellow officer's scooter and took off across a fairway, the report said.
He crashed on the fourth hole, possibly while reaching for his hat, and was taken to the hospital after onlookers called 911, the report said.
About a month later, Petaluma police asked the California Highway Patrol to conduct a criminal investigation.
The CHP recommended charges, which were filed by the district attorney Jan. 27, according to court records.
Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said his department was gathering information about the incident in the four-week period before requesting an independent review.
He would not discuss any evidence or say how the matter came to light. But he said McGreevy was off duty at the time and was not playing in the golf tournament.
A separate personnel investigation is ongoing to see if McGreevy is guilty of misconduct and subject to discipline, he said.
He described the allegation as “just as serious” as driving a car while intoxicated.
“That's why we have taken steps,” Lyons said. “We have to hold our officers accountable.”
Until the case is resolved, McGreevy will continue working in the patrol division, an assignment that includes citing people accused of drunken driving, Lyons said.
“He meets all the requirements to remain on duty,” Lyons said.
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