Following allegations that he left the scene of an accident after striking a parked car, a former police chief and the New Jersey borough where he worked have reached an agreement allowing him to retire.
Former South Bound Brook Police Chief William King will receive nearly $260,000 in sick time, vacation time, personal time, compensatory pay and one year’s salary from the borough of South Bound Brook, NJ.com reports.
Capt. Jack Bennett of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office told the news outlet that, after an investigation, no criminal charges were brought against King. His case was referred back to the borough and King was issued a motor vehicle summons, Bennett said.
According to the settlement, which was reached in November, King agreed to retire on Dec. 1 and to “release any and all claims against South Bound Brook without any admission of liability or otherwise related to his employment."
The settlement was first reported by John Paff — described by NJ.com a as a “public records advocate” — on his blog NJ Civil Settlements.
An April 4, 2015, police report obtained by NJ.com indicated that King had been questioned by borough police officer Richard Meinsen in relation to a motor vehicle accident.
According to the report, Meinsen had learned that around 2 a.m. a parked Dodge Dakota had been struck by what a witness described as a black Ford or Chevrolet “type” pickup truck.
The officer stated in his report that he believed the vehicle might have been the chief’s blue GMC Sierra pickup, which Meinsen thought had been in a nearby parking lot around the time of the accident.
At 2:25 a.m., the officer went King’s home and found the GMC truck backed into the driveway with damage on the passenger side, according to the report.
Meinsen said he took pictures of the damage and asked the chief to come outside to speak with him.
The chief said the damage had been there, the report indicates.
“His breath smelled of alcoholic beverages and he appeared to have been drinking,” Meinsen wrote in the report, according to an earlier NJ.com story. “He stated to me without my asking that he had a few drinks while at home.”
The report indicates the officer told King he was investigating a hit-and-run and that a witness described a vehicle similar to the chief’s “and I was just asking if he could have possibly struck the vehicle and just not realize it.”
“He stated that he didn't strike any vehicle and that if he did he would have recalled doing so,” Meinsen wrote. “Chief King appeared to be too intoxicated as to attempt to get any further in-depth statement form him.”
Meinsen’s report concluded that the damage between the two vehicles was consistent with the described accident. King was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, according to the report, and he was additionally charged on May 1 with failure to report an accident, careless driving and improper turning.
He was not administered a sobriety test. Legal experts who spoke with NJ.com said a test likely wouldn’t have mattered and that a DWI would have been hard to prove.
“You have a gap in time there, and a series of events where he may have gone into his house and had some drinks,” attorney Steven Garner told the news outlet in May.
Even if alcohol on the chief’s breath had registered above the legal limit it wouldn’t be inconsistent with King’s version of events — that he had some drinks when he got home.
“The fact that you don't have an admission and he's already home, you don't have much there,” Garner said.
King will retire in good standing and get to keep his service weapon. He will also be issued a retired chief’s badge and identification card.