Captain Under Investigation After Accident

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Metro Transit Police are investigating an accident involving a Transit Police captain who struck a pedestrian with a police car last month near the Anacostia Metro station in Southeast Washington, officials said yesterday.

Although the police captain offered help to the pedestrian, who declined medical treatment and walked away, the captain did not immediately report the accident to his superiors, police officials said.

Metro police found out about the incident after a witness contacted the department later that day to check on the man's welfare, officials said.

Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said one of his deputies is conducting an administrative investigation. He said it appears that the captain, Leslie Campbell, "wasn't paying full attention" when the accident occurred. The car was moving slowly, and the pedestrian was not knocked down, Taborn said. "Even though there was no injury and no damage, he should have made his officials aware of that particular incident," Taborn said.

Campbell, 43, is an 18-year veteran on the force and commander of one of two Transit Police districts.

Deputy Chief Jeff Delinski, who is handling the probe, said he is investigating whether procedures were violated. Taborn said Metro police are required to report all incidents involving pedestrians.

The accident took place June 11, shortly after 2:10 p.m., in the bus bay of the Anacostia station, Delinski said. Campbell was in uniform and on duty, conducting a check of the station, Delinski said. Delinski declined to provide details of the accident except to say that Campbell's car made "contact" with a pedestrian in the bus bay.

"The captain did stop. He offered first aid and took the person's information down," Delinski said. In Campbell's opinion, there did not appear to be any physical injury and, therefore, no need to call for an ambulance, he said.

About an hour later, a witness called Metro police to check on the man, Delinski said. She had to catch a bus and "leave before the incident had resolved itself, and she wanted to make sure the person was all right."

An hour after the witness notified police, Delinski spoke with Campbell about the accident. Campbell provided a written statement the next day.

Asked why Campbell did not immediately report the incident, Delinski said: "That's part of the investigation."

The Transit Police Department has 423 officers, 106 security special police and 24 civilian personnel. The police patrol the Metrorail and Metrobus systems throughout the 1,700-square-mile transit zone in the Washington area, serving a population of 3.2 million.

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