La Lor faces sanctions for hit and run accidentSuperior’s top detective — recognized as the state’s Michael Vendola Death Investigator of the Year in 2007 — found himself subject of a police investigation last week in connection with a hit and run.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Superior’s top detective — recognized as the state’s Michael Vendola Death Investigator of the Year in 2007 — found himself subject of a police investigation last week in connection with a hit and run.
Capt. Chad La Lor, a 15-year veteran of the Superior Police Department, is facing numerous sanctions after he admitted to fellow officers that he was involved in the accident after drinking March 27.
According to documents released Wednesday by City Attorney Frog Prell, the police captain recognized for solving two cold cases — the 1986 murder of Lynnea Gran and 1993 murder of Myrna Clemons — is facing unpaid suspension, an alcohol assessment and promises of demotion or termination for additional violations of law or alcohol-related incidents that discredit himself or the department.
Those sanctions are in addition to a traffic citation issued by Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters on Tuesday. Failure to meet the terms of the agreement signed by La Lor, Peters and Human Resources Administrator Cammi Konezny could result in demotion or termination.
Prell released the disciplinary agreement Wednesday after La Lor waived his right to challenge the release in court after the Superior Telegram filed a formal request under Wisconsin’s open record law.
“The choices I made leading up to the accident, and immediately following the accident were poor choices,” La Lor said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “I am thankful that there were no injuries sustained in this accident. I have cooperated with the police department’s investigation into this accident, and have accepted my responsibility in it.”
According to Superior police reports, Officer Todd Maas responded to Murphy Oil where an employee, John Tuura, reported the accident. Tuura told Maas he has seen the vehicle — something small like a PT Cruiser or Mini Cooper — at the traffic lights on Catlin Avenue and looked east before turning onto North 28th from the access road. Tuura said the vehicle was moving pretty fast and went up over the median when the vehicles collided. Tuura said the other vehicle didn’t stop following the collision and continued east on North 28th Street.
Maas attempted to follow a trail of leaking automobile fluids at the scene, but it lasted about a block. A second fluid trail in the area went to East Second Street and south, but Maas reported he was unsure the second trail belonged to the suspect vehicle.
Vehicle body parts Tuura collected after the accident helped Maas later identify the vehicle as a Mini Cooper.
Assistant Police Chief Charles LaGesse and Capt. Matt Markon followed up on the investigation and determined La Lor should receive a traffic citation for the hit and run for failing to stop and report the accident. Markon concluded speed and alcohol consumption were contributing factors in the collision.
La Lor, who was off duty and driving his personal vehicle, admitted he was the driver and had been drinking before the collision.
“[I]t is my understanding that no blood/alcohol concentration was obtained as the first post-incident contact with Capt. La Lor occurred some eight or nine hours after the incident,” Prell wrote in response to the Telegram’s open record request. “With the passage of some hours between the time of the incident and the contact with the suspect, a blood/alcohol concentration, even if significant, would have no evidentiary value in the context of an alcohol related driving charge.”
Wisconsin State Patrol reviewed the police department’s investigation.
“It is the conclusion of my staff, based on the evidence and information available for our review; appropriate enforcement action was taken as a result of the crash investigation,” said Capt. Douglas R. northwest region commander of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
Peters issued the citation Tuesday and presented La Lor with a disciplinary agreement that outlined sanctions and requirements for continued employment.
Under the terms of the agreement, La Lor faces:
• Three weeks unpaid suspension.
• One year probation to demonstrate his ability to continue to perform his duties as investigations commander. Failure would result in demotion to police sergeant.
• Plead no contest to the hit and run citation issued by Peters, and pay all related fines and penalties and damages to Murphy Oil.
• Attend a mandatory employee assistance program referral for an alcohol assessment and comply with recommendations.
• A two-year last-chance agreement during which any on or off duty alcohol-related conduct that brings discredit to the police department or himself, or any violations of law would result in termination.
Any breach of the agreement would result in demotion or termination without action or a hearing before the Police and Fire Commission, which has the legal authority to discipline police and fire officials.
Peters said he takes these types of issues involving officers very seriously.
“Since this accident, I have apologized to the other driver, my chief, and my department,” said La Lor. “I will continue to work as a committed professional within the City of Superior, with a drive and passion to solving crime.
“I apologize to the citizens of Superior and ask for their forgiveness as I now attempt to make amends for this accident …”