After his department-issued vehicle was found wrecked and abandoned, LAPD Commander Jeff Nolte has been demoted to the rank of captain while under investigation. Nolte has been assigned to paid home duty pending the investigation into his crashed car.
In January, several motorists called 911 to report a severely damaged vehicle speeding southbound on the 405 Freeway. According to the recordings, one motorist told a 911 operator that the driver appeared to be “really drunk” and was “driving a damaged vehicle, just driving on the front axle…The front wheel is completely gone.”
Around 4:40 a.m. on January 25, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) deputies found Nolte’s city-issued Dodge Charger abandoned in the area of 213th Street and Avalon Boulevard. Despite the fact that the mangled vehicle was discovered outside the city limits, the LAPD assumed jurisdiction over the investigation.
Shortly afterwards, the LAPD released the following statement: “The Department employee was not injured in the crash and we don’t believe anyone else was involved in the incident. We are currently working with the California Highway Patrol to determine the nature of the crash. The Employee has been assigned home pending the outcome of the investigation.”
According to the LASD deputies who found Nolte’s car, the abandoned Charger had clearly been involved in a traffic collision and was missing a tire.
Nolte, who headed the LAPD’s Force Investigation Group, has been on paid leave since allegedly crashing his car and fleeing the scene. Although the LAPD decided to demote Nolte last week, his demotion retroactively took effect on February 17.