DETROIT – A Wayne County deputy is under investigation after witnesses said he left the scene after crashed into parked cars in Detroit.
Witnesses said they chased after the driver when he hit the parked cars and left the scene. They said he was wearing a Wayne County Sheriff's deputy uniform.
Sheriff Benny Napoleon said he doesn't know why one of his law enforcement officers would do something so clearly against the law.
Video shows a car at Conant Street and East McNichols Road slamming into parked cars, driving away and being chased down by witnesses. Those residents said the man reached for his gun.
Local 4 has obtained fuzzy video of the Jeep slamming into the line of cars on the evening of April 19. The driver then backed up and left the scene.
Among the cars damaged was a Chrysler 200 that was totaled. The owner of the car said the driver "should have (stopped), but he hit and ran."
In the police report, witnesses said the hit-and-run driver "had a Wayne County Sheriff's uniform on. He put his hand on his gun and told witnesses to step back."
"They said, 'Come back to the scene,'" the Chrysler 200 owner said. "He said no. At this point, he put his hand on what they assume was a weapon."
Witnesses did get the vehicle's license plate. It comes back to the deputy who lives right around the corner from the scene of the crash.
A big piece of evidence is in the deputy's driveway: A Jeep with the plate removed. The man said he's a deputy and didn't deny being the hit-and-run driver.
"Why did you leave the scene of the accident?" Local 4's Shawn Ley asked.
"I was terrified," the deputy said.
"That's against the law," Shawn said.
"Yeah," the deputy said.
Napoleon said the deputy is a 30-year veteran of the road patrol.
"I don't understand what was on his mind, why he would not have stopped," Napoleon said. "Something could be amiss that he didn't want anyone to find out about."
The deputy has been stripped of his police power. The Detroit Police Department is handling the hit-and-run investigation. So far, the deputy has not been charged.
Napoleon said the deputy was off-duty at the time of the crash. The department has discipline protocols to follow with the department and deputy's union. For now, the deputy has been taken off the road and reassigned to the jail.