Detective reprimanded for 'minor fender-bender'
Jul 2, 2014 at 2:11 PM
A Huron County sheriff's detective has been given a warning as a "corrective measure" for backing into a cruiser when authorities surrounded an armed suspect's residence.
Detective Eric L. Bardar received the warning June 23 -- 18 days after he assisted deputies with setting up a perimeter around the camper of a supposedly armed New London man with a history of drug- and violence-related convictions and prison terms.
Bardar also will receive in-service training on driving. Sheriff Dane Howard said that's standard practice for any of his deputies or detectives who are involved in crashes.
The sheriff provided background on what he called a "minor fender-bender." The collision happened at 1:30 p.m. June 5.
"We were dealing with an urgent and dangerous situation with Bill McCullough," Howard said.
McCullough, 69, of 1732 U.S. 250, New London, is charged with one count each of felonious assault and possession of weapons under disability.
Many local deputies, five deputies from the Ashland County Sheriff's Office and members of the New London Police Department met in the Fitchville area to set up a perimeter around where McCullough lives. Authorities responded to the report of a male victim who reported being threatened and said the suspect fired a gun at him.
"He (Bardar) moved a vehicle to another post to secure the scene out of necessity," Howard said. "He was moving in a rapid fashion because it was a violent situation."
The passenger-side rear bumper of the cruiser driven by Bardar hit the front driver's side of an unmarked police car.
"There was minimal damage to both (vehicles)," Howard said. "No one was injured. It was a very minor crash; it was a minor fender-bender."
However, he said his office completed an accident report and an internal investigation "because it's the right thing to do" and the collision involved damage to county property. The sheriff's office will forward the crash report to the Norwalk Law Director's Office for review. The internal investigation ended last week.
Howard said it's unlikely Bardar will be cited because the Ohio Revised Code "provides some relief" for officers involved in an accident during an emergency situation.
"We'll let the law director make that decision," the sheriff added. "In Bardar's defense, it was a very volatile and dangerous situation."
Deputies seized two loaded firearms -- a Mossberg shotgun and .9 mm High Point pistol -- and a large amount of suspected marijuana reported to be "packaged for distribution" from McCullough's camper when they arrested him. His arrest came after Sgt. Bill Duncan and Detective Rich Larson negotiated with the suspect who reportedly told officers he didn't want to return to prison.