State

Stanislaus County sheriff's captain wrecks department car

A Stanislaus County sheriff's captain was in a two-car accident while driving his department-issued car to his second home in Pacific Grove.

The March 26 noninjury accident occurred on Highway 1 in Monterey, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Capt. Tim David is among the approximately 72 Sheriff's Department employees who are allowed to drive their work cars to and from home. In David's case, that includes Pacific Grove. His primary residence is in Modesto.

Sheriff Adam Christianson said these employees take their work vehicles home because they could be called back to work at any time. The employees include homicide detectives, watch commanders and command staff.

They are not allowed to use their department- issued vehicles for personal business.

The Sheriff's Department has about 670 employees.

Christianson said he and Undersheriff Bill Heyne no longer drive their work vehicles to and from home in recognition of the department's tight finances. He said others have followed his example.

Until recently, David was in charge of operations, which includes patrol, investigations and the department's speciality teams, such as the dive and bomb teams, the sheriff said.

Christianson said he did not know whether Da-vid had ever been called back to work from Pacific Grove, which is about 140 miles southwest of Modesto.

The sheriff said the department covers the cost of employees driving their cars to and from work. But he said David pays for the gas when he drives to Pacific Grove.

All but about 10 of the employees who drive their vehicles to and from work live in Stanislaus County, according to the Sheriff's Department.

David no longer will drive his department- issued car to Pacific Grove, the sheriff said, because of his recent change in assignment to lead the department's administrative division.

David was in charge of the administrative division when the accident occurred, but Christianson said he was helping his successor make the transition to operations.

The sheriff declined to speak in detail about David's accident because it's a personnel matter and being reviewed by the department. He said David will be treated the same as any other employee if he is found to be at fault.

"He'll be held responsible to the same standards as anyone else," Christianson said.

The CHP had only a summary of the March 26 accident. The summary does not assign fault. The CHP said more details will be available once the investigation is completed in a few days.

The CHP did not have information about the condition of the car.

David, who is out of the office this week, did not return phone calls left at his Modesto home or on his work cell phone.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or 578-2316.

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