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Safety Chief Says Wife Had Medical Episode

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Published on Jul 12, 2011

Mayor Richard Berry has ordered the city�s independent review officer to investigate whether any city laws or policies were broken in the handling of a car accident involving the wife of Public Safety Director Darren White. Kathleen White crashed her Porsche into a curb on the 11200 block of Montgomery NE shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday, according to a police report released by city officials at a news conference Monday. She declined to be transported by ambulance, according to the report. Darren White, who oversees all police and fire personnel, told reporters at a news confer ence Monday evening that he drove his wife from the scene of the accident to get her medical attention. Doctors, he said, have told the couple she had suffered from a seizure. The couple has decided to release Kathleen White�s medical records, White said, to curtail any speculation about the accident. The records show that a Presbyterian Hospital doctor diagnosed Kathleen White with �new onset seizures� and that she tested negative for numerous prescription and illegal drugs. White said he did not interfere with the accident investigation in any way and that he welcomed the forthcoming probe by Independent Review Officer William Deaton, which was announced at the news conference. During the news conference, White, Police Chief Ray Schultz and city Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry scolded members of the media for bringing forward �anonymous� allegations that Kathleen White had been intoxicated and her husband had acted inappropriately. �People are using my wife�s medical condition for cheap political attacks,� said White, who was visibly upset during the news conference. �I don�t know who�s making these allegations, but I have done nothing wrong. Unfortunately, because of these attacks, my wife and I have had to make a decision to provide (media) with her personal medical records, which is something we should never have to do.� An Albuquerque Fire medical rescue unit responded to the scene, which was dispatched as a motor vehicle accident with an �unconscious or fainting� driver, AFD Capt. Pete Longdon said in an earlier interview. Longdon declined to provide a copy of AFD�s report, citing federal medical privacy laws. Kathleen White told APD officers she was on two types of prescription medication for �anxiety,� according to the police report. Schultz said no DWI investigation was conducted because it appears there wouldn�t have been probable cause to do so. The chief also said it is not uncommon for people involved in crashes to have family members come to the scene, or for family members to transport them to seek medical attention. During the news conference, White declined to comment on why he transported his wife rather than have her transported by ambulance, adding that will be part of the IRO�s investigation. He also said he was on scene for about 30 minutes before taking his wife to the hospital in his city vehicle but declined to discuss why he was there so long. Also part of the investigation, Schultz said, will be why APD officer Al Walck did not complete his report the day of the incident, contrary to department policy. Walck submitted his report Monday morning, the chief said, but it was rejected due to mistakes involving whether Kathleen White�s car had been towed, a box checked in the original report indicating a second vehicle having been involved in the crash and a few grammatical errors. Earlier in the day, the mayor�s office said Walck also refused his commander�s order to complete the report. City officials said the IRO will look into the incident �from A to Z.� Mayor Berry, who was not at the news conference, said in a written statement issued late Monday: �It has come to my attention that certain members of the public have expressed concerns that Darren White was at the scene of a single-vehicle accident involving his wife. �Director White has also expressed concerns about the conduct of certain city personnel at the scene. The best way to answer all of these concerns is to have the Independent Review Office conduct a thorough investigation into the facts pertaining to this incident, and that is what I�ve requested. I have given instructions to all departments to turn over all information regarding this incident directly to the Independent Review Office and to not process the information through the Mayor�s Office. This will be an independent review.� Berry said in the statement that no city employees will be placed on leave during the investigation, which is expected to take several weeks.

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