By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 21, 2009
A Fairfax County police officer who was involved in a traffic crash last year that killed a teacher's assistant has resigned from the police department and is under investigation for embezzlement, officials said.
Amanda R. Perry, 23, had been on administrative duties for more than a year since the February 2008 crash on Route 1 that killed Ashley McIntosh. Fairfax prosecutors charged Perry with reckless driving, but she was found not guilty after a trial in September.
After the trial, police launched an internal investigation into the crash. While Perry awaited a decision from Police Chief David M. Rohrer, she was assigned to a desk job, and she has been accused of falsifying her time and attendance reports, police sources said. Officers use electronic key cards to enter police buildings, and Perry's time cards did not always match her electronic key records, they said.
Perry was elected in November to the board of the Fairfax Coalition of Police, the police union. When the union's executive board learned of the allegations, it voted to kick her off the board, union lawyer Edward J. Nuttall said yesterday. On Monday, Perry resigned from the police department, a police spokesman confirmed.
Perry and Officer Marshall E. Thielen, president of the police union, did not return calls seeking comment. Nuttall declined to discuss why Perry resigned.
Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh said a decision has not yet been made about whether to charge Perry. "I'm reviewing the evidence on that and haven't made any determination," Morrogh said.
Perry has been sued in Fairfax Circuit Court by John McIntosh and Cynthia Colasanto, the parents of McIntosh. On Feb. 12, 2008, McIntosh, 33, drove her Toyota Corolla out of the Mount Vernon Plaza shopping center when the light turned green.
Perry, responding to a reported fight in progress, drove her police cruiser through a red light with her emergency lights on but without her siren activated. Tests estimated she was traveling between 38 and 44 mph when she struck McIntosh's car on the front passenger side without braking. McIntosh, who was not wearing a seat belt, was hurled from her car and died the next day.
A video camera in Perry's cruiser recorded the crash. In May 2008, after watching the tape, Morrogh decided to charge the officer with reckless driving. The police union rose to Perry's defense, as it would in any case in which an officer was charged while performing her duties, Nuttall said. Three experts were hired to analyze the crash and its aftermath.
After Perry's acquittal, the county Board of Supervisors offered to reimburse Nuttall for his fees and costs. In January, the board agreed to pay Nuttall about $18,900, which he said covered his $5,000 attorney's fee, the experts' fees and other costs. He said the county had reimbursed other officers' lawyers in similar situations.