Accused of drunkenly crashing into a guardrail and concocting a false story to cover up the incident, a former New York police chief was charged Monday with misdemeanor drunken driving and a violation of leaving the scene of an accident causing property damage. Three police officers who assisted the police chief that night have been suspended.
At 12:55 a.m. on October 21, Greece Police Chief Andrew Forsythe crashed his Chevy Tahoe into a guardrail after allegedly drinking at least six mixed Vodka cocktails and a shot during a fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency Rochester. Chief Forsythe continued driving for approximately five more miles until the vehicle became disabled by the side of the road with only one functioning tire.
At 1:43 a.m., about 48 minutes after the crash, Forsythe called for help from his police radio, which was operable, and reported that he had struck a deer. His vehicle was towed to the Greece Police Department impound lot, and officers took him home without giving him a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
Within a week after the crash, Forsythe resigned from the department due to his flimsy explanation that he swerved to avoid a deer and did not immediately report hitting the guardrail because his radio was temporarily inoperable. He also drove in the opposite direction of two separate Greece police stations in an apparent attempt to drive home instead.
On Monday, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced that Forsythe has been charged with misdemeanor drunken driving and fleeing the scene of an accident. The evidence against Forsythe reportedly includes video of the police chief imbibing several cocktails at the Hyatt Regency Rochester bar before he staggered into the garage elevator shortly before the crash, audio of his slurred call to 911, and video of his damaged vehicle driving with a missing tire after the crash.
“Due to his voluntary consumption of alcoholic beverages, he was unable to operate his motor vehicle as a reasonable and prudent driver,” District Attorney Doorley stated during a news conference.
Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich announced Monday that all three members of the Greece Police Department who actively responded to Forsythe’s accident scene had been suspended indefinitely, effective Monday. The suspended officers are: Deputy Chief Casey Voelkl, Lt. Andrew Potter, and Officer Evan Kalpin.
“It appears that GPD responding officers and others may not have responded appropriately,” Reilich said at an afternoon press briefing. “I’m especially concerned in learning that former Chief Forsythe was not administered a breath or field sobriety test that would have been routinely performed on civilians like you or me.”
Forsythe is currently scheduled to be arraigned in Greece Town Court on December 9.