CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County sheriff's was trying to do things by the book in resolving a totaled patrol vehicle.
The Mississippi County Sheriff's Department recently received numerous inquiries from citizens about the 1998 Jeep involved in an accident following a discussion of the insurance settlement during a County Commission meeting Dec. 27.
"I am always more than happy to answer anyone's questions and will help with any concerns the citizens have," said Sheriff Keith Moore in a news release Friday. "In order to answer any questions about the incident, I appreciate a chance to clarify what happened."
According to the news release, on Oct. 3 a sheriff's deputy was involved in an accident which was not the officer's fault. That accident resulted in the arrest of Maurice Lamarr Davis of Charleston.
Davis was charged with first degree domestic assault, endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest for a felony, attempted assault of a law enforcement officer and first degree property damage. He also was cited for several traffic violations.
While the accident resulted in damage to the driver's side front and rear quarter panels, the vehicle remained in operational condition and continued to be used as a patrol vehicle until criminal proceedings against Davis began.
Davis's insurance company declared the vehicle a total loss as the replacement of the quarter panels was estimated to cost more than the vehicle's total value "due to the extremely high mileage and age of the vehicle," Moore said. "It was the decision of the county commissioners to accept or deny the bid, I had nothing to do with the scope of the incident."
Moore said the department did not attempt to hide anything from the public or the county. Administration referred to the Personnel Policy Handbook Section 17-7, page 98, in the county's handbook that states:
"Employees shall report to the police department any accident involving a county vehicle and the property or vehicle of another party. Employees shall report any accident involving damage to a county vehicle to their supervisors, department heads and the personnel and safety officer on a form prescribed for this purpose. Failure to report damage of county vehicles as prescribed may result in disciplinary action."
Moore said it was "terribly regrettable if this department did not comply to any regulation, if that is the case, however, researching the procedure in the policy handbook was done."
The policy book never mentioned informing the circuit clerk's office, Moore said. The vehicle remained in use while the insurance company completed its work and at no time was there any intentional wrongdoings by his department.
"I regret that there was such a misunderstanding, however I am always available to explain any actions taken by my department to the Commission or the citizens of Mississippi County," Moore said. "As far as accepting an offer from the insurance company, I did not do that. I relayed the proper paperwork to the courthouse by a deputy who was working in the court system."
Action was taken so the Commission could review the settlement offer and decide whether to accept or deny it, Moore said.
In regards with the incident, a phone conversation with Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg was conducted during the timeline.
As Davis' criminal case is currently in the court system, Moore emphasized that Davis, as all defendants, is innocent until proven guilty.